OROFINO, Idaho — A family is speaking out against Clearwater County deputies who shot and killed their son.
Mike Trappett, 48, was in crisis, holding a knife and threatening to harm himself. He was shot 15 times.
The Clearwater County Sheriff’s Office said Trappett was drunk and being aggressive. Trappett’s family said he struggled with bipolar disorder and was only a threat to himself. They believe the situation could have ended peacefully.
Trappett was his parent’s primary caregiver and was passionate about helping the elderly, and hospice patients.
"He often held their hands so they wouldn't die alone,” his mom Jackie said.
He started drinking more after his dog died and in the early morning hours of Jan. 31, Trappett grabbed a knife in his parent’s kitchen.
"His mother called police because she was afraid that Mike would harm himself,” said family attorney Stephen Stubbs. "He has never had a history of aggression towards others, only to himself."
Clearwater County Deputies responded to the Orofino home and found Trappett outside holding the knife.
"And then he said Mike drop your knife and he said Mike I don't want to have to do this,” Trappett’s mother said. Deputies told her to go inside and shut the door.
"Immediately upon shutting the door, they shot and killed Mike. 15 shots—10 from one officer, five from the other,” Stubbs said. "I started to go out because I wanted to hold him or whatever and he said don't come out here you don't want to see this,” Jackie Trappett said.
Stubbs said deputies altered the shooting scene by moving patrol cars before investigators arrived. “That's important because use of force is different if there's other things you can do, like hide behind a car."
Trappett’s parents witnessed the shooting but said they have still not been interviewed by investigators.
"They went over to a neighbor's house and pressured the neighbors to say that Mike was aggressive and the family was afraid of him and the neighbors refused,” Stubbs said. “Those are not investigators that are trying to investigate the case. Those are investigators that have come to a conclusion before investigating and are trying to protect their officers."
The Sheriff’s Office said the two deputies have been placed on administrative leave. Trappett’s family wants them to be charged in his death.
"Michael is already missed. He left a huge void in our lives and he didn't deserve to lose his life this way,” his mom said.
The Clearwater County Sheriff’s Office did not respond for a comment. The Lewiston Police Department is investigating the shooting and said they are unable to comment. Deputies were wearing body cameras and Trappett’s family believes those videos will prove the shooting was not justified.
The family plans to file a notice of tort claim, a precursor to a lawsuit.