Victim had smashed pickup into utility pole earlier, officials say
A Coeur d’Alene police officer yelled “drop it!” three times before fatally shooting a man at an apartment near downtown Sunday morning, according to two women who heard the confrontation.
A man who lives next door to the scene said he heard no such command but did hear the shots – five, by his count – just a couple of minutes after he looked out his window and saw an officer approaching the apartment.
Police said the 35-year-old man was shot about half an hour after he smashed his pickup truck into an Avista Utilities pole, severing it at the base, a block and a half away. As of Sunday night investigators had not released the man’s name.
The shooting happened shortly before 8 a.m. at 1422 E. Young Ave., north of Sanders Beach and west of the Coeur d’Alene Resort Golf Course.
Paula Gallo, who lives on 14th Street across from the scene, said she heard the vehicle strike the pole at South Dollar Street and East Lost Avenue around 7:20 a.m. She walked down the alley behind her house and saw the driver speeding away from the scene in a Chevrolet truck.
“He was getting the hell out of the crash scene,” Gallo said.
A short time later she was in her front yard and heard a man and woman at the apartment arguing loudly. The same truck was parked at the apartment, she said.
“It was like boyfriend-girlfriend fight stuff,” she said.
Then officers showed up and Gallo heard “Drop it, drop it, drop it!” quickly followed by three gunshots.
She then heard the woman screaming, “You shot him! You shot him!”
Next door to Gallo, Candy Dyresen was visiting her sister when she heard the commotion from an upstairs bedroom with the window open. She said she clearly heard three commands to “drop it” followed by three shots.
Vermont Trotter lives in the house right next to the apartments.
“It was a nice, quiet Sunday morning, then bang, bang, bang, bang, bang through the trees,” he said.
Trotter, who was inside his house, said he’s sure he heard five shots about two minutes after he looked out and saw an officer standing by a dumpster just outside the door to the apartment.
He said he immediately called 911, thinking the officer he saw may need help, and was told by the operator that there were five officers on scene.
Idaho State Police detectives are leading the investigation into the shooting.
No officers were injured in the incident, according to the Coeur d’Alene Police Department.