Man arrested after shooting at mall an 11-time felon

EVERETT — The man arrested Tuesday night for gunfire at the Everett Mall was just released from prison in February and was awaiting sentencing for a new felony he committed less than two months after he was freed.

Charles F. Sprague, 26, has a long criminal history that includes 11 felonies, some dating back to when he was a juvenile. Most of his crimes center around drugs and theft.

Sprague could be looking at a long stretch behind bars if he is convicted of crimes stemming from Tuesday evening’s chaos.

Sprague was booked into the Snohomish County Jail for investigation of first-degree robbery, unlawful possession of a firearm and assault. He also was wanted for failing to report to his community corrections officer.

The mall incident began around 5:45 p.m. after Sprague and a woman accompanying him allegedly were spotted on closed-circuit TV putting a black Nike brand T-shirt into a shopping bag and leaving Macy’s without paying for it, according to a police report.

A loss prevention officer and mall security attempted to stop Sprague and the woman near the west entrance at the north end of the mall.

The loss prevention officer pulled the shirt from the bag. Sprague allegedly began fighting and tried to pull away.

That’s when a mall security officer jumped on his back, joining in efforts to keep Sprague from escaping.

Sprague reportedly pulled out a .40-caliber handgun.

The mall security officer and suspect were on the ground and the officer grabbed Sprague’s wrists to control the gun.

Sprague’s companion then reportedly attempted to get the security officer off of Sprague and was pushing him and pulling his leg.

Two off-duty police officers who arrived at the mall saw the struggle and helped apprehend the suspect.

During the scrum, Sprague allegedly bit the mall security and plain-clothed officers, according to a police report.

The handgun was fired as the mall officer was attempting to get it away from the suspect.

“Sprague then shot the pistol and the round hit the metal door frame,” the police report said.

At that point, one of the police officers pulled his gun and ordered Sprague to stop resisting.

The mall officer was able to get the gun from the suspect and he was handcuffed by the Macy’s loss prevention officer.

Macy’s was locked down, and much of the nearby parking lot was emptied while police investigated.

The handgun and bullet were recovered.

People were running from the mall as officers arrived. Customers and employees were removed from the mall with police escorts. The Everett police south precinct is just across the street from the mall.

It’s not unusual for shoplifters to resist and assault store security officers in their attempts to escape, turning a misdemeanor into a felony, Everett police officer Aaron Snell said. The use of a gun to try to escape is very unusual, he said. Using a firearm during a robbery can add years to a sentence upon conviction under the state’s “hard time for armed crime” law.

The woman who was with the suspect has not been arrested, Snell said Wednesday.

Sprague pleaded guilty last month after he was caught on video in March trying to use a stolen credit card at a grocery store on Broadway in north Everett. The card had been stolen during a burglary. Also stolen from the home were two handguns. It is unclear if the gun used Tuesday was one of the stolen firearms. Sprague was out on bail and scheduled to be sentenced next month for second-degree possession of stolen property.

He was released from prison in February after being sentenced to nearly two years in state lock-up for trying outrun Snohomish County sheriff’s deputies in a car and also having heroin during another police stop.

Sprague was to have made an appearance on Wednesday in a Snohomish County district court. The hearing was postponed a day after he refused to leave his jail cell.

Herald reporter Rikki King contributed to this story.

Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446, stevick@heraldnet.com

More in Local News

Shock from WSU suicide ripples through Snohomish County

Roughly 1 in 10 seniors, sophomores and 8th-graders said they had attempted to take their own lives.

New leaders coming to county, state political parties

Hillary Moralez of Bothell takes over as chair for the Snohomish County Democratic Party.

$1,000 reward for info on who killed an eagle near Snohomish

After being shot, the raptor was treated at the Sarvey Wildlife Center but died overnight.

Possible bobcat sighting keeps Snohomish students inside

The creature was spotted on the campus of Valley View Middle School around noon.

Derrick “Wiz” Crawford, 22, is a suspect in the homicide of his roommate. (Edmonds Police Department)
Roommate suspected in Edmonds killing found hiding in closet

Police had been searching for him for 10 days before locating him at a house in Everett.

Stabbing in Everett follows dispute between brothers-in-law

The victim, 54, was hospitalized. The suspect, 29, had not been apprehended Thursday.

Camano Island man gets 18 years for role in drug ring

He was convicted of helping lead a drug distribution network in four Washington counties.

Lake Stevens man missing since beginning of January

Jason Michael Knox White hasn’t used his credit card or withdrawn money from his bank since then.

Snohomish County’s emergency radios are breaking down

A plan to convert to digital equipment is in the works with an estimated cost of up to $75 million.

Most Read