Crime

He'd fled from police, but never shot at them - until a foot chase in Meridian

Daniel Norris was booked into the Ada County jail in July 2015 for soliciting kidnapping via his social media page. He later pleaded guilty and received prison time.
Daniel Norris was booked into the Ada County jail in July 2015 for soliciting kidnapping via his social media page. He later pleaded guilty and received prison time.

Daniel Isaiah Norris got his first felony conviction in January 2004, shortly after he turned 19.

Over 14 years and several more run-ins with law enforcement and the courts, Norris showed a tendency to flee from officers and not comply with his probation. But he had never been in any known violent confrontations with law enforcement before Sunday, when he shot a Meridian police officer and was killed when that officer fired back.

Court records show a string of arrests and probation violations that Norris once said came from "acting stupid" and "acting on impulses." At one point, he told his probation workers that he had changed and was "confident" he would succeed in life.

Roadside fracas, social media threat

The incident that led to Norris' first felony took place on June 13, 2003. Norris and three other men in a car traveling on Five Mile Road passed four people walking on the side of the road, according to court records. When one of the people made a rude gesture to the car as it passed, the driver turned around and pulled over by the group.

During the confrontation, Norris demanded two of the pedestrians empty their pockets. He took the contents — cigarettes, a lighter and a wallet containing no cash.

Norris pleaded guilty to two felonies: robbery and attempted robbery. He was sentenced to 130 days in jail and 10 years' probation. He later got a withheld judgment — eventually removing the convictions from his record — and his probation reduced to six years.

In 2006, prosecutors charged Norris with aiding and abetting — accusing him of being the "getaway driver" for two of his friends, one armed with a shotgun, who broke down the door of an apartment. The woman inside grabbed a handgun and called 911. The assailants took her handgun and attempted to flee, but police had already arrived and blocked the apartment complex's exit.

The jury acquitted Norris, but a judge revoked his withheld judgment on the robbery case and set his probation back to the original 10-year sentence.

Norris got his most recent felony conviction in 2015, when he pleaded guilty to criminal solicitation to commit a crime. The case stemmed from a July 2, 2015, post he made to his Facebook page offering money to anyone who captured a person identified in court records as "B.F." Records do not reveal B.F.'s identity, nor why Norris wanted the person kidnapped.

When a Meridian police officer went to serve the arrest warrant for the kidnapping solicitation, Norris fled in his vehicle, led the officer on a chase through his Meridian neighborhood, then went back to his house, where he was apprehended. That incident resulted in five new charges: felon in possession of a handgun, possession of a pipe and of marijuana, fleeing an officer, and failure to obey an officer's commands.

Norris pleaded guilty to the kidnapping solicitation charge and in exchange, the other charges were dropped. He was sentenced to up to nine years in prison, with two years before he would be eligible for parole. Norris was incarcerated until July 24, 2017, then was released on parole through July 22, 2024.

Shooting and death

Authorities say Norris didn't make it a full year before absconding from his parole. The Idaho Department of Correction reported him as a fugitive on May 22.

But the officer who shot him to death did not know who Norris was during Sunday's pursuit.

Initially, Meridian officers were looking for the driver of a Dodge Durango who according to their records, had a warrant out. Officer Kyle Mikowski found the Durango, but followed Norris and a woman who left the vehicle and fled on foot. Witnesses say Mikowski tried to stop Norris with a stun gun; Norris then shot at Mikowski, who was hit twice in his legs but returned fire.

Norris is the tenth person fatally shot by Idaho police this year. Attempts by the Statesman to reach his relatives this week were unsuccessful.

In May 2008, Norris, then 23, completed an IDOC behavior self-risk management plan as part of his probation.

He wrote that he would stop old behaviors, like "acting on impulses in situations" and "doing whatever I wanted to do." And he would start new behaviors, like "thinking about the situation before I act" and "doing what I am supposed to do."

"I have grown and matured a lot since I was 18 and acting stupid," he wrote in a summary of the plan. "I am confident that I will succeed in life if I continue to strive for a positive change in my life, and I believe that goals and plans I have made will get me to where I want and need to be."

Cynthia Sewell is Idaho Statesman's government watchdog reporter. Contact her at (208) 377-6428, csewell@idahostatesman.com or @CynthiaSewell on Twitter.
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