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Man shot by Idaho trooper had been questioned for 45 minutes

A Montana man shot and killed by an Idaho State Police trooper last month had been questioned by the trooper and a Shoshone County sheriff’s deputy for about 45 minutes before he retrieved a handgun from his car, prompting the deadly confrontation.

Alexander L. Mandarino, 26, of Whitefish, Mont., died from a single gunshot wound to the chest, according to a preliminary autopsy report.

Trooper Todd McDevitt fired the shot as Mandarino and Deputy Adam Durflinger wrestled over possession of the gun along Interstate 90 near Lookout Pass, according to an investigation by the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office.

McDevitt and Durflinger approached Mandarino’s car, parked in an eastbound turnout about 2 miles west of the Idaho-Montana border, on June 12 after receiving a report from an Idaho Transportation Department worker about the man’s welfare, Kootenai County Sheriff’s Lt. Stuart Miller said Wednesday.

“He had been there apparently for some time, and his car was kind of parked almost frontwards into a ditch, and he was kind of laid back in his seat,” Miller said. “For some time he was in that position, so they were concerned, and that’s why they called the Sheriff’s Office.”

The officers asked Mandarino why the Montana license plates on the Toyota Scion were not those issued for the car, which belonged to the man’s roommate.

“He was giving some inconsistent answers to that point, and he was outside the vehicle, and then at some point during their interaction he went back to the passenger side of the vehicle and got in the car,” Miller said. “And then that’s when the deputy and the trooper went over to him, and he retrieved a handgun and the struggle with the weapon ensued, and then the trooper fired one shot.”

A preliminary toxicology report for Mandarino showed that THC, the main mind-altering ingredient in marijuana, was in his system at the time, Miller said.

The investigation is not complete.

McDevitt and Durflinger were placed on administrative leave following the shooting, but both are back on full duty.

Mandarino was a 2005 graduate of Whitefish High School. He studied filmmaking at the Los Angeles Film School. His parents, Monte Mandarino and Laura Blankenship, live in Whitefish.