Crime

Meridian officer, chasing fugitive alone, didn't know who he'd shot until it was over

Meridian Police Chief briefs media on officer-involved shooting

Officers were looking for an individual with an outstanding felony warrant when they located the suspects, who fled on foot. Officers pursued on foot, and one suspect opened fire on police, said Meridian Police Chief Jeff Lavey.
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Officers were looking for an individual with an outstanding felony warrant when they located the suspects, who fled on foot. Officers pursued on foot, and one suspect opened fire on police, said Meridian Police Chief Jeff Lavey.

Meridian police were searching for a person with an outstanding warrant Sunday — but it wasn't the man who died trading gunshots with an officer that afternoon.

Daniel Isaiah Norris was also a wanted man, sought by the Idaho Department of Correction for absconding on parole. But officers did not learn his identity until after he was dead, Deputy Chief Tracy Basterrechea confirmed Tuesday.

A fresh news release Tuesday offered a much more extensive account from the Meridian Police Department of the circumstances of the shooting.

Initially, police said officers were looking for the person with the warrant when they encountered three people, one of whom was later identified as Norris. After a foot chase, Norris opened fire; Officer Kyle Mikowski was hit twice in his legs, but shot back and killed Norris.

"Prior information related to the officer involved shooting on Sunday, July 1, 2018, was very preliminary and the Meridian Police Department would like to clarify earlier information," the Tuesday news release said. Here is the agency's updated account:

Multiple officers, including Mikowski, responding to an unrelated call were in a parking lot at the southwest corner of Eagle and Overland roads. According to police, the occupants of a nearby Dodge Durango with dark-tinted windows noticed the officers and left the parking lot. One officer ran the Durango's plate and learned its owner had a warrant out for his arrest.

The officers soon finished their original call and decided to look for the Durango, the news release said. Mikowski headed east on Interstate 84, exited at Cole Road in Boise and headed back toward Meridian on Overland.

Mikowski found the Durango at Maple Grove Road. According to the news release, the Durango headed south on Maple Grove, then soon turned into a neighborhood, stopping at Mediterranean Drive and Crimson Rose Avenue. There, police say, Norris and a woman got out of the Durango and headed south on a walking path. Maps of the area show a path along a canal bank.

Daniel Norris.jpg
Crime Stoppers provided this photo of Daniel Isaiah Norris to southwest Idaho news media on June 27, 2018.

The Durango left the area, passing Mikowski. The officer saw Norris and the woman and got out of his own vehicle, the news release said.

At that point, police say, Norris dropped unspecified drug paraphernalia and started running.

Mikowski gave chase, telling Norris to stop, a witness told MPD. Meanwhile, the woman headed back toward Mediterranean.

As Mikowski chased Norris along the dirt path, Norris cut through a yard with a home under construction. According to witnesses, including nearby contractor Nedim Cavcic, Mikowski told Norris he was going to use his stun gun. Mikowski then shot Norris with the stun gun while Norris was in a yard in the 1900 block of Cressida Place.

Norris started to fall forward, drew a 9 mm handgun and fired at Mikowski, hitting him twice in his lower legs. Mikowski returned fire.

Cavcic began helping Mikowski. Another witness called emergency dispatch. Mikowski and a responding Ada County Sheriff's Office sergeant applied tourniquets to Mikowski's legs. A Boise Police Department officer attempted "lifesaving measures on Norris," who died at the scene.

"The Meridian Police Department would like to extend our gratitude and appreciation to the civilians who assisted Officer Mikowski and to the Ada County sergeant who applied the tourniquet; without their assistance this could have turned out much different," the news release stated.

Mikowski underwent surgery to remove the bullets and stop related bleeding. He was released from the hospital Monday and is "recovering well," MPD earlier said.

This is at least his third officer-involved shooting, according to public records and prior news reports. Before joining Meridian police in February 2017, he was an officer with Murrietta Police Department in Orange County, California.

On Oct. 22, 2016, Mikowski was one of five officers who shot and killed a man who crashed his vehicle into multiple police vehicles and then began to drive toward officers. On Dec. 4, 2014, Mikowski shot and injured another man who tried to stab people with a knife inside a convenience store, then refused to drop his weapon.

The owner of the Durango later turned himself in to police. "He is considered a witness right now, so we aren't releasing his name," said Meridian Deputy Chief Tracy Basterrechea.

The woman has not been located, "but they are working some good leads," Basterrechea said.

Norris is the tenth person fatally shot by Idaho police this year.

He was reported as a fugitive on May 22 for absconding from parole.

On Feb. 5, 2016, in Ada County, he had been sentenced to two to nine years in prison for solicitation of kidnapping in the second degree.

He was incarcerated until July 24, 2017, when he was released on parole through July 22, 2024.

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