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Coeur d’Alene Police Officer Spencer Mortensen ordered Eric Byron Johnston eight times to drop two knives before fatally shooting him in a small apartment near downtown last summer, the officer’s body camera recording shows.
Police released the video footage today. The prosecuting attorney in neighboring Bonner County reviewed an Idaho State Police investigation into the Aug. 25, 2013, shooting and concluded that Johnston, a 35-year-old Dalton Gardens resident, appeared intent on “suicide by cop” and that no charges should be filed against Mortensen.
The officer’s body camera footage shows a tense confrontation between the officer and Johnston, who had just fled a nearby car accident and was inside a friend’s apartment. Click here to see the video and read the full story. Scott Maben, SR
Eric Byron Johnston died of multiple gunshot wounds in Sunday morning’s confrontation with a Coeur d’Alene police officer, the county coroner said, but investigators are not yet disclosing how many times the Dalton Gardens man was shot. Witnesses described hearing up to five shots. Johnston’s body has been released to his family, and they are making arrangements for a funeral this Saturday afternoon. The Idaho State Police also has not named the officer who shot Johnston inside the apartment of a friend near downtown Coeur d’Alene/Scott Maben, SR.
A submitted photo (from Wendy Woods) of her friend Eric Byron Johnston, the man shot and killed Sunday morning by a Coeur d'Alene Police officer. (Courtesy of Wendy Woods)
Wendy Woods stood next to her blood-soaked carpet this morning and cried for the loss of her close friend, Eric Byron Johnston, who was shot and killed Sunday morning by a Coeur d’Alene police officer. “He was so funny, so sweet – the most reliable friend in my life,” Woods said. “And for them to just come here and shoot him dead like that? It’s sickening.” Other friends and family members reacted today with shock and anger over the shooting inside an apartment at 1422 E. Young Ave., north of Sanders Beach. “Eric was like the backbone in my company,” said Charles Ray Larsen III, who owns Ray’s Rooftop Moss Removal in Coeur d’Alene. “Eric was the kind of person that wouldn’t step on an ant – a quiet, gentle soul.” Johnston, 35, a Dalton Gardens resident, was shot multiple times from about 10 feet away as he clutched a serrated kitchen knife, according to accounts of the confrontation shortly before 8 a.m./Scott Maben, SR. More here.