With two shootings involving Treasure Valley law enforcement within 10 days of each other last month, Ada and Canyon counties have now had at least 11 officer-involved shootings in a little more than a year. In seven cases, someone died.
No one fully tracks the number and outcome of officer-involved shootings in Idaho. But according to figures compiled by the Statesman, six fatal shootings involving officers were reported statewide in 2015. In 2013 and 2014, four people died each year in shootings involving officers.
Situations in the past 14 months have included a man who shot a dog and threatened trail users in the Boise Foothills, a home invasion in Caldwell, at least one attempt by a person to goad officers into killing him, and a shooting in a Boise neighborhood that wounded two officers, paralyzing one. In one case, it appears the gunman police faced killed himself.
Three of the shootings happened within 24 hours of each other, highly unusual.
All but one of the shootings occurred in Ada County. That’s meant ongoing work for the county’s Critical Incident Task Force, a partnership among its law enforcement agencies that ensures a police department doesn’t investigate a shooting involving its own officers.
Agencies within the task force are on a rotation in an effort to spread the caseload rather than pile up cases for one agency, according to Idaho State Police.
In Ada and Canyon counties, there are at least seven pending task force investigations into officer-involved shootings. Six of those are in Ada, with ISP officers investigating two; Boise, Meridian and Garden City police having one apiece; and the Ada County Sheriff’s Office assigned the other.
The task force investigates whether a law enforcement officer has committed a crime, not whether he or she violated internal policy. The agency directly involved in each shooting is responsible for an internal investigation, which often parallels the criminal investigation.
After a task force investigation is complete, the lead investigating agency submits the results to a prosecutor for review, just as they would for any other criminal investigation. If a county prosecutor’s office believes it has a conflict of interest, it will forward the case to another county — locally, Twin Falls County is often used as a backup.
A Statesman investigation found in 2015 that no Idaho officers have been convicted for their roles in fatal shootings since 2000.
Anyone with information on investigations not listed in this article may email Ruth Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.
March 28, 2017: Authorities said Bryan Coy, 34, pointed a weapon at Ada County sheriff’s deputies while they arrested his father on a warrant in Boise. Coy survived the shooting. Boise police are leading the investigation.
March 18, 2017: Boise police fatally shot 42-year-old Benjamin Barnes after Barnes reportedly shot a dog and threatened people in the Foothills near the Hulls Gulch area. Meridian police are leading the investigation and believe they will have it to prosecutors within the next month.
Jan. 24, 2017: Ramon Milanez was shot and killed by Kuna police after firing a weapon at officers in a Kuna neighborhood. Eight officers shot at Milanez in response. ISP says the task force investigation is complete except for a coroner’s report that has been shipped to the Twin Falls County Prosecutor’s Office for review.
Nov. 11, 2016: Marco Romero was fatally shot by Boise police after police had been searching for the wanted fugitive. Romero shot two officers and killed a police dog. On Wednesday, Garden City police reported the task force investigation would be complete in a week or two.
Nov. 11, 2016: Caldwell officers — one using less-lethal beanbag rounds — shot at James Stell after a home invasion and standoff. Stell survived. On Tuesday, Nampa police said the investigation was complete and had been submitted to a prosecutor’s office for review.
Sept. 26, 2016: Anthony Bauer died after being shot at by two Boise police officers and two Garden City officers. He had crashed a stolen white Dodge Durango into the Garden City police building. On Tuesday, ISP said the investigation was complete and had been submitted to the Twin Falls County Prosecutor’s Office for review.
June 28, 2016: Alan Amundson shot a teenager and then a Boise officer before killing himself in a neighborhood near Capital High School. The Ada County Sheriff’s Office has completed its investigation and it is being reviewed by the Canyon County Prosecutor’s Office.
CLEARED CASES SINCE 2016
Nov. 10, 2016: Edgar Hafen was shot and wounded by Ada County sheriff’s deputies. Boise police investigated and prosecutors determined that the deputies were within the bounds of their authority.
June 14, 2016: Noel Rodriguez, who was out on parole for a murder conviction, was shot and killed after Boise police say he attempted to ram officers and attack one with a screwdriver. Prosecutors determined officers acted within the bounds of their authority.
April 28, 2016: 911 dispatch received a call about a suicidal subject and deputies responded to Lee Easter’s Boise home. When Ada County sheriff’s deputies arrived, they asked Easter to come downstairs. He reportedly yelled, “It’s too late,” and then moved down the stairs, pointing a gun at them. The deputies fired, killing him. Boise police investigated the shooting and the Canyon County Prosecutor’s Office determined that it was justified.
Feb. 22, 2016: Kenneth Morehouse was shot by an Ada County sheriff’s deputy and survived. Boise police investigated and prosecutors cleared the deputy of any criminal wrongdoing. Prosecutors previously said they believed Morehouse was attempting to commit “suicide by cop.”