Coeur d’Alene, ID – Police released bodycam video on Monday from a gunfight that left a Coeur d’Alene officer wounded and the suspect dead in February (video below).
On July 19, Coeur d’Alene Police Captain Dave Hagar announced that the Idaho State Police and the Bonner County Prosecutor’s Office had completed their investigation into the officer-involved shooting of 34-year-old Curtis Ware, and said the prosecutor’s office had ruled the shooting justified, according to the Spokesman-Review.
Capt. Hagar said the prosecutor’s office had determined the officers’ actions were in accordance with lethal force provisions under Idaho state law, and the shooting was ruled to be justified.
The gun battle occurred just after 7 p.m. on Feb. 27 when Coeur d’Alene Officer Kelly Mongon conducted a traffic stop on a car occupied by Ware and two other men.
Ware was riding in the backseat of his own vehicle, the license plate of which was flagged for a felony warrant, the Spokesman-Review reported.
Officer Mongon called for backup, and rookie Officer Charles Hatley and his field training officer, Officer Taylor Beach, responded to the scene.
In the video, Officer Mongon stood on the passenger-side of the vehicle and asked the occupants of the car some questions as he waited for his backup to arrive.
“So who you guys know that lives here?” the officer asked.
The passenger in the front seat indicated that he and the driver were just dropping Ware off. Ware wasn’t able to provide the last name of the person he was supposed to be visiting.
“Any weapons in the car or anything?” the officer asked, in the video. The same passenger replied that there weren’t.
When Officers Hatley and Beach arrived on the scene, Officer Mongon took Ware out of the backseat of the car first.
In the video, Officer Beach stood at the rear on the driver’s side of the car and Officer Hatley stood behind Officer Mongon, shining their flashlights into the vehicle while Officer Mongon opened the rear passenger-side door.
“I’m just picking up my phone,” Ware said, as he moved his left hand furtively when the officer opened the door.
“Alright you can put it down,” Officer Mongon replied, in the video.
“I’m gonna have you step out with me,” he instructed Ware, who complied without a problem.
“I’m gonna have you turn around and put your hands behind your back,” Officer Mongon instructed Ware, and that’s when the video showed Ware whipped around to face him.
Officer Mongon’s body camera didn’t capture the whole shooting but police have said that Ware pulled out a gun hidden in his waistband and began shooting at the officers without warning or provocation, according to the Spokesman-Review.
“Shots fired, shots fired!” Officer Mongon said in the video.
“Ah, I’m hit,” Officer Hatley said, and his field training officer ran over to assist him.
“You’re OK,” Officer Beach told Officer Hatley in the video. “Where are you hit?”
“Right in the stomach. I don’t know if he hit my belt or not,” Officer Hatley told her, sounding remarkably calm in the video.
In the video, Officer Mongon said he wasn’t sure if he’d been hit or not, because he’d also fallen on the ice.
Officer Beach loaded rookie Officer Hatley into her police vehicle and rushed him to Kootenai Health as soon as backup arrived for Officer Mongon.
Officers found Ware lying face down in a yard, and he was pronounced dead at Kootenai Health with three bullet wounds, according to the Spokesman-Review.
Coeur d’Alene Police Chief Lee White commended the field training officer during a press conference at police headquarters on July 23.
Officer Beach had responded “the way she’s supposed to in training,” Chief White told reporters.
“After realizing Hatley had been hit, she goes and puts herself between Hatley and the suspect and basically provided cover,” the chief said. “It was exceptional and completely above and beyond duty.”
“I’m extremely proud of the way our officers responded during this incident,” Chief White said. “They were presented with an unprovoked and sudden attack and they literally responded with the way officers are trained.”
Officer Hatley, a married father of a 7-week-old baby, sustained a single bullet wound to the abdomen, after the round penetrated his duty belt. He has since recovered from his wounds and returned to full duty, Capt. Hagar said.
He was hired by Coeur d’Alene Police Department in September of 2017, and graduated from the basic training academy in December of 2017, KXLY reported.
Watch the bodycam videos of the gunfight in the video below: