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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Washington

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, December 2, 2021

Colville Tribal Member Sentenced to 107 Months for Carjacking Victim at Gunpoint and Unlawful Possession of Firearms

Spokane, Washington – Senior United States District Judge Rosanna M. Peterson sentenced Kyle Steven Scott Cate, age 30, an enrolled member of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, to 107 months of imprisonment for Carjacking and Felon in Possession of a Firearm following Cate’s guilty pleas to two federal indictments earlier this year.

According to court documents, on April 30, 2020, at 2:30 a.m., Cate began banging on the door of a residence located in Coulee Dam, Washington, on the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation. Cate’s victim, who also is an enrolled member of the Colville Tribe, came to the door, and Cate asked him for a ride to Nespelem, Washington. When the victim declined to give Cate a ride, Cate brandished a snub-nosed pistol at him before stealing his 1998 Black Subaru Legacy at gunpoint. Before leaving, Cate demanded the victim’s keys, pointed a pistol at his face, and said he would shoot him. With Cate’s pistol only 4 to 5 inches away from his face and fearing for his safety, the victim gave up his keys. Cate left in the carjacked Subaru, driving in the direction of Nespelem. His victim called 911.

Within minutes of the 911 call, Colville Tribal Police observed the Subaru Legacy driving toward Nespelem. Police matched the license plate to the victim’s stolen car, and began pursuing Cate. Cate led officers on a chase that lasted approximately 23 miles, during which he reached speeds of approximately 100 miles per hour. After Cate endangered law enforcement, other drivers, and himself for a significant period of time, the engine on the Subaru Legacy failed and Tribal Police were able to stop the carjacked vehicle. During Cate’s arrest, Tribal Police recovered seven .22 caliber bullets from Cate’s pocket. A firearm that met the description given by Cate’s victim was recovered along Cate’s flightpath, consistent with Cate having thrown it from the moving vehicle during the high-speed chase. Cate’s fingerprint was later recovered on the firearm.

Separately, and prior to the carjacking, Cate was found in possession of four stolen firearms in August 2018. Those firearms, which had been stolen during a residential burglary, were recovered from Cate’s home. Cate admitted that he possessed the guns and that he knew they were stolen. At the time he possessed the stolen firearms, Cate had a prior felony conviction for Second Degree Robbery in Okanogan County Superior Court.

United States Attorney Vanessa Waldref commended the joint efforts of law enforcement and emphasized the need to keep Eastern Washington safe and strong. “All people in Eastern Washington deserve to be safe in their homes, whether they live in big cities, small towns, rural communities, or on reservations. The danger inherent to stealing a car at gunpoint was made significantly worse when Mr. Cate led law enforcement on a high-speed chase. He needlessly endangered countless people – including other Tribal members, Tribal law enforcement, innocent bystanders, and himself. His offense may have taken only moments, but it has had a lasting impact on his victim and the community. This case illustrates the good reasons why felons are not legally permitted to possess firearms, and it is alarming that entirely separate from the carjacking conduct, Mr. Cate was in possession of numerous firearms. I am grateful to all of the federal, state, and Tribal officers who investigated the cases against Mr. Cate, and thankful that neither they, nor anyone else, was physically hurt by his actions.”

Donald Voiret, the Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Seattle office, echoed the U.S. Attorney, stating: “Mr. Cate’s casual use of violence and blatant disregard for people’s safety indicates that significant time in prison may be the only way to ensure that he is not an ongoing menace to the public.” ATF Seattle Field Division Special Agent in Charge Jonathan T. McPherson, joined that sentiment, noting: “Mr. Cate’s dangerous use of firearms in the commission of a carjacking, while also being a felon in possession of other stolen firearms, clearly warrants this significant sentence. ATF will continue to investigate aggressively those who possess and use firearms illegally, including to threaten innocent bystanders as Mr. Cate did.”

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (“ATF”), Colville Tribal Police, and Washington State Patrol investigated these cases, which were prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Richard Barker.

Topic(s): 
Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 
2:20CR00108-RMP-1; 2:21CR00051-RMP-1
Updated December 2, 2021