A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by the parents of a Montana man shot and killed by an Idaho State Police trooper.
The officer’s use of deadly force was necessary and the officers did not intentionally or recklessly escalate the situation leading to the shooting, said U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge in his Sept. 29 order.
The shooting occurred on June 12, 2013, off Interstate 90 near Lookout Pass on the Idaho-Montana border.
Alexander L. Mandarino, 26, of Kalispell, had pulled off I-90 to sleep, according to court documents.
Shoshone County Sheriff’s Deputy Adam Durflinger responded to a call from a passerby and stopped to check on the car. Durflinger learned that the license plates on the car, a 2008 orange Scion, did not match those assigned to the car.
Durflinger awoke Mandarino, who was asleep in the passenger’s seat, and began questioning him about the license plates. Idaho State Police Trooper Todd McDevitt arrived on scene to help, and he also began questioning Mandarino.
When asked if he possessed marijuana, Mandarino got into the passenger’s side of the car and retrieved a small pill bottle from the glove box. McDevitt and Durflinger stood next to him outside the car. ISP dash-cam video shows that Mandarino was still in the passenger’s seat when McDevitt saw a gun in the glove box. He told Mandarino not to pick it up. Mandarino picked up the gun, a struggle ensued, and McDevitt shot Mandarino, according to court records.
Mandarino’s parents, Monte Mandarino and Laura Blankenship, said in their lawsuit that their son was cooperative throughout the 40-minute encounter and use of force was not necessary.
“Given the circumstances of Mr. Mandarino reaching for the pistol after the Trooper had expressly told him not to and his failure to release the pistol during the struggle despite the Trooper’s commands, it was reasonable for Trooper McDevitt to believe that Mr. Mandarino posed a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to himself and Deputy Durflinger,” wrote Lodge is his order dismissing the case.