Sheriff: Shooting by deputy justified


Kootenai County Sheriff’s Deputy Chuck Sciortino did not violate department policy when he fired at a reportedly suicidal man on March 14, Sheriff Rocky Watson said Tuesday.

Watson said an administrative review showed Sciortino was acting “in the defense of the life of another” when he fired four shots at 30-year-old Victor Leon Jr., striking the man once in his chest.

Sciortino had responded to a report of a domestic dispute in Dalton Gardens the day of the shooting.

Leon struck several cars, including Sciortino’s patrol car, Watson said, and was driving at his wife and Sciortino when the officer fired. The suspect then led police on a pursuit that ended in Kellogg.

A news release issued by the department Tuesday said Leon allegedly told investigators “his father is Satan and his mother is a witch, and they were trying to kill him to take his soul.”

Watson’s announcement followed Kootenai County Prosecutor Bill Douglas’ finding that Sciortino was justified in the shooting.

A preliminary hearing in the criminal case aga)inst Leon is set for Tuesday before Kootenai County Magistrate Eugene Marano.Sheriff’s Capt. Ben Wolfinger said Sciortino, who was placed on paid leave pending the outcome of the investigation, will return to work later this week after his regularly scheduled days off.


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