Body camera shows Coeur d’Alene officer shoot armed suspect

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by OTHELLO RICHARDS & KREM.com

KREM.com

Posted on January 15, 2014 at 7:03 PM

Updated Thursday, Jan 16 at 6:45 AM

COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho -- Video has been released of a deadly officer-involved shooting back in August 2013.  KREM 2 News decided not to show the complete video.

WATCH: Prosecutor calls fatal Coeur d'Alene officer-involved shooting justified

The Coeur d’Alene Police Department said the video was taken from the body camera worn by Officer Spencer Mortensen.  Earlier this month, the Bonner County Prosecuting Attorney said he believed Eric Johnston intended to commit suicide by cop after conducting interviews and watching footage from officer Mortensen’s camera.  The Coeur d’Alene City Attorney’s Office has reviewed those findings.

WATCH: Officer identified in fatal Coeur d'Alene shooting


Authorities said Eric Johnston, 38, was threatening to hurt himself after officers approached him on the morning of August 25. Officer Mortensen responded to an apartment complex on Young Avenue after Johnston hit a power pole.

Officials said Mortensen arrived on scene and spoke with a person that was a friend of Johnston named Wendy Allenbaugh. Mortensen went with Allenbaugh to her apartment and noticed that that the front screen door had been broken and there was glass on the porch. The officer also noticed Allenbaugh was injured.

READ: Coeur d’Alene man shot by police died from wounds


The Bonner County Prosecuting Attorney said that during Mortensen’s interview with Idaho State Police, he said he suspected there could have been a domestic violence incident at Allenbaugh’s place.

Before Mortensen actually saw Johnston, he had announced himself several times. Mortenson asked the suspect to come outside.

“Hey Eric, there are witnesses.” Mortenson said. “We can just get your insurance and take care of this.”

Allenbaugh told Mortensen that Johnston was inside with a knife and that he was threatening to harm himself. In an interview with police, Allenbaugh had said that Johnston was worried about going back to jail.

“I’m worried about him cutting himself,” Allenbaugh said.

Authorities said Mortensen went into the apartment and saw Johnston about 10 feet away. He saw two knives in Johnston’s hands and directed him to drop the weapons.

“Put it down. I’m serious,” Mortenson said.  “Put the knives down. I need you in the house right now”

Officials said Mortensen attempted to deescalate the situation by asking Johnston to provide insurance for the crash and told him it was just a minor accident.

Authorities said Johnston refused all of Mortensen’s commands and did not drop the knives and started moving closer to him. Mortensen at one point told Johnston that if he continued to move closer to him he would shoot.

Officials said Johnston got even closer to Mortensen and that is when he fired off five shots.
Allenbaugh became hysterical.  The camera captured her crying and screaming profanities. 

The Bonner County Prosecuting Attorney determined that criminal charges should not be filed against Mortensen for the death of Johnston.

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