January 3, 2014 in Idaho, Region

No charges will be filed in Coeur d’Alene police shooting

Prosecutor: Victim intended suicide by cop
By The Spokesman-Review
 

No charges will be filed against a Coeur d’Alene police officer who shot and killed a man armed with two knives in August.

Officer Spencer Mortensen shot Eric B. Johnston, 35, five times in a confrontation that unfolded after Johnston crashed his truck into a utility pole and then fled to a friend’s apartment near downtown Coeur d’Alene.

The investigation into the shooting was led by the Idaho State Police. Bonner County Prosecuting Attorney Louis Marshall announced his decision against filing charges in a letter to Kootenai County Prosecuting Attorney Barry McHugh.

Marshall wrote that Mortensen clearly announced himself and told Johnston to drop the knives several times. Mortensen fired after Johnston failed to follow commands and advanced on the officer, Marshall wrote. The incident was recorded on a body camera worn by Mortensen.

“The most plausible theory of this case after looking at all the evidence is that Eric Johnston purposefully walked at Officer Spencer Mortensen after picking up the two knives with the intent to commit suicide by cop,” Marshall wrote.

Just before police arrived Johnston told his friend that he did not want to go back to jail, Marshall wrote.


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