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Sirens & Gavels

Wed., Oct. 30, 2013, 3:43 p.m.

ISP dash cam shows officers warning motorist to drop gun before firing

As Spokane-area law enforcement agencies debate the use of video cameras to document the actions of officers and suspects, newly released footage from a state police shooting in North Idaho shows how video evidence can leave little doubt about what leads up to a deadly confrontation.

The video released Tuesday shows how an interview with a motorist found sleeping in his car along Interstate 90 last June quickly led to the man being fatally shot in the passenger seat as he and an Idaho State Police trooper struggled over a pistol.

Trooper Todd McDevitt warned Alexander L. Mandarino not to touch the handgun in the glove compartment and to get out of the car, which was parked on the side of the freeway near Lookout Pass at the Idaho-Montana state line.

“If you make any attempt to go towards that pistol it’ll be the last thing you ever do,” McDevitt can be heard saying.

But Mandarino, 26, a Whitefish, Mont., resident, ignored McDevitt and grabbed his Walther 9 mm semi-automatic pistol.

For several tense seconds the two struggled over the gun, while a Shoshone County Sheriff’s deputy stood nearby, his own gun drawn. McDevitt repeatedly ordered Mandarino to let go of the pistol. Then the trooper took out his own handgun and placed the muzzle on Mandarino’s chest. When Mandarino refused to release his gun, McDevitt fired one fatal shot at point-blank range.

Mandarino can be heard exclaiming “Ow!” before collapsing. McDevitt removed the wounded man from the car and placed him on the ground. He and Deputy Adam Durflinger quickly administered first aid and performed CPR on Mandarino until medics arrived. Mandarino was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.

Shoshone County Prosecuting Attorney Keisha Oxendine concluded last week that the shooting was justified because Mandarino “posed an immediate and continuing danger to the officers on scene” and posed “a viable threat of deadly force.”

A toxicology report showed Mandarino had THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, in his system at the time of the confrontation.

The police vehicle video footage and a redacted copy of the executive summary of the investigation of the shooting, conducted by the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office, were released Tuesday through a public records request initiated by The Spokesman-Review.

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Scott Maben
Scott Maben joined The Spokesman-Review in 2006. He currently is the Business Editor.

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