Er - 4/15/2006 Investigation launched into police involved shooting

ER Investigation launched into police involved shooting
by Christine Bensen-Messinger, 4/15/2006

In the hours after a police-involved shooting Friday afternoon, Eureka police officers and volunteers kept G Street between Fifth and Sixth streets blocked off as an investigation into the incident continued.

Eureka Police Chief Dave Douglas, Detectives Ron Harpham and Dave Parris, Humboldt County District Attorney Paul Gallegos, Sheriff’s Detective Ben Nord and at least one EPD evidence technician were present at the scene.

The incident — which led to the shooting death of Eureka resident Cheri Moore — started Friday morning.

“At about 9:52 this morning, we received a call into the dispatch center for a welfare check,” said EPD Public Information Officer Suzie Owsley, adding that the subject was reported to possibly be suicidal.Officers arrived at the apartment located in the upstairs of 516 G St. soon after the call. Shortly after 12:30 p.m. the department’s Special Weapons and Tactics team entered the apartment.

“We did make entry with our SWAT team in the early afternoon and one person is deceased,” Owsley said, adding that she could not confirm the person’s identity.

“All we’re saying is one person’s deceased inside the apartment … (it’s) all I have been told to release at this time, but more information should be released (today),” she said.

Owsley said she is not sure how many officers and other people from the department were present when the incident occurred.

Owsley said the apartments surrounding Moore’s as well as the stores underneath and across the street were not evacuated.

“It was contained to one of the apartments, so we didn’t feel they needed to be evacuated,” she said.

As for the store across the street, Owsley said customers and employees were asked to stand away from the window.

“We had our SWAT team, plus there were several officers and we also used Eureka Volunteer Patrol,” she said, adding that civilian employees were also called in to help.

Witnesses claim to have seen a sniper on the roof across the street from the apartment where the incident occurred, but Owsley said she cannot confirm that information or whether Moore had a weapon.

As is standard procedure in an officer-involved shooting, the incident is being investigated by Eureka police and other law enforcement agencies in the county.

The last officer-involved shooting in Eureka took place in September. After a two-week long investigation the officer was cleared to go back to work.

The investigation was conducted by the Humboldt County Multidisciplinary Team, made up of representatives from various local law enforcement agencies and the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office.
“The review team that (does) the review doesn’t answer to the department,” Douglas said in a previous interview with The Eureka Reporter. “It’s an independent investigation.”

Although she said she thinks there is a written policy in the department regarding when an officer is authorized to use deadly force, Owsley said she could not comment on what it is.

Michael DiMiceli, assistant executive director of the California Commission of Peace Officer Standards and Training, said there is no specific statewide protocol on when an officer is authorized to use deadly force.

“State law sets essentially the standards for the use of firearms and that is further refined by agency policy; the training is built in large part around what the law says or requires,” he said.

Whether an officer has to go through a series of steps or what the decision making process is, is determined by a combination of state policy and agency policy, DiMiceli said.

“POST is not in the position to dictate a policy statewide,” he said.

More information regarding the incident may be available as soon as today.

Copyright (C) 2005, The Eureka Reporter. All rights reserved.

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