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Sirens & Gavels

Posts tagged: Coeur d'Alene shooting

Man cleared in CdA shooting

A man accused of shooting two men during a night of drinking in downtown Coeur d’Alene left jail Friday after a grand jury declined to indict him.

Adam M. Johnson, 25, said he shot Brandon R. Burgess and Bradley J. Phillips in self-defense after the men and their friends threatened him during an early-morning argument Dec. 27.

The men had argued at a bar hours earlier, and police said Johnson was attacked by the men only after he fired a gun at them.

A grand jury apparently disagreed and refused to indict Johnson, the CEO of a Coeur d’Alene-based telecommunications company.

Charges of attempted murder and aggravated battery were dismissed Friday in Kootenai County District Court.

“The facts in the case, I think, pointed to self-defense, absolutely,” said public defender Anne Taylor. “We were developing a very good case.”

Grand jury proceedings are closed to the public, and witness testimony and evidence is confidential. Kootenai County Deputy Prosecutor Art Verharen, who conducted the two-and-a-half-day proceeding, declined comment.

Chief Deputy Prosecutor Barry Black said he wished he knew what went into the decision.

“Are we disappointed? Sure,” Black said. “We felt that there probably was enough to go forward … otherwise, we wouldn’t have proceeded.”

Phillips, 25, told police Johnson pulled a .40-caliber handgun after one of Phillips’ friends said, “If you want to do something then let’s just settle it right now,” according to a police report.

Phillips was shot in the knee and Burgess, 25, was shot in the stomach when Johnson was tackled, according to police reports.

Read the rest of my story here.

Join the conversation at Dave Oliveria’s Huckleberries blog

Men shot in CdA seek payment

A Moses Lake man shot in downtown Coeur d’Alene has filed a complaint against the accused shooter, seeking at least $10,000 to cover medical costs and other damages.

Bradley J. Phillips, 25, was shot in the leg Dec. 27 in downtown Coeur d’Alene. A complaint filed Tuesday in Idaho’s 1st District Court says 25-year-old Adam M. Johnson negligently shot Phillips, resulting in more than $2,000 in medical costs.

Phillips’ friend Brandon R. Burgess, who was shot in the stomach, filed a complaint last week seeking lost wages, pain and suffering, and medical expenses he said have exceeded $10,000, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday in Idaho’s 1st District Court.

Johnson is in Kootenai County Jail on charges of attempted murder and aggravated battery. He said he shot the men, who were with six others visiting Burgess’ mom for Christmas, out of fear.

Johnson is due in court tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. for a probable cause hearing. A grand jury has been hearing testimony in the case.

Past coverage: Gunman in CdA shooting claims self defense

2 men shot in downtown Coeur d’Alene

More details here.

Shooting suspect claims self defense

A young businessman facing attempted murder charges after a chaotic confrontation in downtown Coeur d’Alene told police he felt threatened when he opened fire on a group of men looking for a fight.

“I did what I was trained,” Adam M. Johnson told police, according to court documents filed Monday.

“I felt threatened and I didn’t feel that there was any other way out of it.”

But authorities investigating the early Sunday shooting in the 200 block of Sherman Avenue that left two Moses Lake men with gunshot wounds are skeptical.

They’re recommending that Johnson, 25, be charged with attempted murder and aggravated battery, concluding that it was the gunfire that appeared to have instigated the other violence.

Read the rest of my story here. Check out past coverage here.

The 93-page police report contained numerous tidbits that didn’t make it into the article. They are:

The fight at the Underground bar apparently began when one of the Moses Lake men bumped into Johnson, who was with two friends “who are or have been fighters at the Lyon’s Den,”according to a police report. The men went outside, talked and shook hands, Johnson told police. He went back to the Underground and the men left for another bar.

Johnson told police he was pushed, not hit, before he fired the first bullet. “Adam said as soon as he was jumped, he thought they were going to kill him,” according to the police report. “He stated that he tried to empty it (the clip) before he went to the ground because he knew that he would be killed.”

Johnson told police he always wore the gun in the front of his waist with no holster, according to police reports. He placed a round in the chamber after the men approached him, then backed up a few feet and fired, according to a police report. “I told Adam that witnesses said there was no physical altercation between he and the guy he shot, that Adam had just pulled his gun,” according to a report by Coeur d’Alene police Detective C. Miller. “Adam said he knows he felt threatened. He had a feeling that something was wrong.”

Johnson repeatedly asked police about protocols for officer-involved shootings and told detectives they would have done the same thing he did. “He said he was confronted with a group of people and it wasn’t just one person,” according to a police report. “They had ‘edged hostility.’ Adam continually pointed out what I would do as an officer and used his example for examples that I would encounter on and off duty.”

One of the men said the group had been asked to leave the Torch because the Burgesses’ mother and a friend “were getting out of hand, possibly with the stage dancers.”

When police asked Johnson for his personal information, “he said I could just check the front page of The Spokesman from last Sunday, since he was on the front of it,” according to a report. “I asked why but he said he did not want to talk about it.”

In interviews Monday, friends described Johnson as a level-headed, responsible young man trained on firearms and experienced in carrying them. “He is the epitome of a responsible gun owner, but he made a bad choice having it on him that night.” said Candace McEnespy, 23. “Those men were out looking for trouble.”

McEnespy, who identified herself to police as Johnson’s girlfriend, reportedly told police she was concerned about Johnson because of “the mood he was in tonight.” She said he’d been angry while at the Underground because someone tried starting a fight with him. McEnespy had approached a police officer in the 100 block of Third Street and asked what happened. “I explained some people had gotten out of control,” the officer wrote in a report. “She said that sounded like her boyfriend.”

Big Brothers poster boy accused of attempted murder

The man accused of a shooting in downtown Coeur d’Alene is the CEO and president of a Coeur d’Alene-based independent telecommunications company.

He also was featured last Sunday in a Handle Extra feature story on the mentoring program Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Johnson credited his participation in the program from age 10 to 16 with helping him prepare for adulthood.

“It really forged my character. Don taught me that nothing is impossible. And it was great to have someone listen – even to my totally crazy dreams. He always said, ‘Never let anyone tell you that you can’t do it,’” said Johnson.

Johnson also was mentioned in a July 2007 story about Internet-based phone services.

At the time, Convertec was three years old and served about 100 customers. Operating out of a small office, Convertec contracts with other companies to connect calls with the public telephone network, and it uses another vendor to get phone numbers, according to the article you can read here.

Now Johnson is in Kootenai County Jail on one count of attempted murder for a downtown Coeur d’Alene shoooting that left one man critically injured.

Read my story here: 2 men shot in downtown Coeur d’Alene.

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