Wife of man shot by Kennewick PD speaks out

Wife of man shot by Kennewick PD speaks out »Play Video
KENNEWICK -- Police shot Dennis Skellenger after a chase through town. Skellenger has been in contact with authorities 169 times since the year 2000. But it's not stopping his wife from saying he was unfairly targeted by police.

Three officers with Kennewick PD were called to Horse Heaven Hills Park on Friday morning.

“They tracked the suspect to the backhoe. And the dog alerted on the backhoe. The officers began giving commands to the suspect," says Kennewick Police Chief Ken Hohenberg.

But after they made contact with their suspect, officers used deadly force.

“The suspect failed to comply with commands. The suspect pulled a revolver and at that time, Officer Taylor fired what appears to be one shot," Hohenberg added.

The suspect is Dennis Skellenger, 26, of Kennewick. After taking a bullet to the chest, he was taken to the hospital and later flown to Seattle. His family has been with him since he got there and in this exclusive interview, they paint a very different picture of the man they know as "DJ."

“There's no way I believe for one iota of a second that he had a gun on him,” says Skellenger’s wife, Angela. She has been married to Dennis for almost three years. Angela said she never knew him to own weapons.

“He's not one to carry guns or knives or stuff of that matter. I think the worst thing he ever had was brass knuckles," Angela continued.

When we asked about the 169 incidents on his criminal record, she said that's all in the past.

“If they look at his criminal record for the last three years, he's been in hardly any trouble. He's done a complete life change and he has his rocky moments, but everybody does," said Angela Skellenger.

Rocky moments that Dennis Skellenger's neighbors know all too well.

“Last time I talked to him he got out of jail and he was like, 'next time I get pulled over, I'm running for it. And he did," says neighbor Jeff Hearn.

Angela believes the fault lies with the police department.

“He's had problems with KPD in the past, so I'm not surprised that he took off. They're not nice to him, they don't like him. They got issues, too,” she says.

Ultimately it'll be up to a special investigative team to find out if Friday's shooting was justified. The officer who fired the shot is on administrative leave, as is routine. Police have not filed any charges against Skellenger for the incident as of Saturday.