Eastern Washington Man Who Fired at Two State Troopers Said His Plan Was to Be Shot


A 62-year-old Pasco man planned for a year to be shot by police before he allegedly put this plan into motion on Sunday.

Melvin Joseph Brown stopped his car on the side of Interstate 82 early that morning and called 911 saying he needed help. He intended to create a situation that would force a shooting, according to court documents.

Instead, he ended up in the Benton County jail with bail set at $500,000 on suspicion of first-degree assault after allegedly opening fire on two Washington State Patrol troopers.

Neither trooper was wounded, and one fired back at Brown but did not hit him.

Brown appeared in court briefly on Monday. Prosecutors asked for a high bail amount out of public safety concerns.

A public defender representing Brown said he would hold off for now on arguing for a lower bail.

Court documents show Brown was interviewed later on Sunday by Franklin County Sgt. Steven Warren about the incident.

Brown told him he had started forming his plan last summer but gave no details to Warren about what drove him to want to commit "suicide by cop," according to court records.

Brown said he left home at 5:30 a.m. and stopped by a store to buy cigarettes before driving to the Badger Road exit on Interstate 82 in Kennewick. Then he called 911 to "get a response from police."

WSP troopers Cory Litchfield and Dedrick Jolliff responded in separate police cars.

It's unclear what happened immediately after Litchfield pulled up. Brown told Warren that the trooper parked closer to him than he expected, so he walked farther away.

Court documents don't say if Brown had a handgun when Trooper Litchfield stopped, but Trooper Jolliff told investigators that Brown was armed and had the gun pointed at the ground.

Litchfield was trying to talk with Brown while Jolliff took out his patrol rifle and was watching them talk.

"During this time, Trooper Jolliff stated that Mr. Brown lifted and pointed his firearm in the direction of Trooper Litchfield and started walking forward at the same time. This continuous movement ultimately placed Brown behind a vehicle, where Trooper Jolliff lost sight of him," Warren said in the documents.

Jolliff tried to position himself so he could see what was happening. But before he could get Brown into view again, he heard a series of shots.

When he saw them again, Brown as unarmed and on the ground. A Sig Sauer 9mm pistol was later found at by investigators, along with three shell casings from that pistol.

One of Brown's shots allegedly hit the bumper of Jolliff's patrol car.

Litchfield had fired back, but didn't hit Brown.

Litchfield has yet to provide a statement to investigators about what happened because the shooting is under investigation by the Regional Special Investigations Unit.

The unit was called in to determine if the trooper violated any laws by firing his weapon.

Litchfield, who was named District 3 Trooper of the Year in 2019, will be on paid leave during the investigation.

The unit uses detectives from Benton, Franklin and Walla Walla counties to investigate officer-involved shootings.