Er - 4/16/2006 Police respond to fatal shooting of Eureka woman

ER Police respond to fatal shooting of Eureka woman
by Heather Muller , 4/16/2006

The Eureka Police Department provided preliminary information Saturday about Friday’s fatal shooting of Cheri Moore, a woman who brandished an orange flare gun at the window of her G Street apartment during a two-and-a-half-hour standoff with police.

EPD Public Information Officer Suzie Owsley sent local news organizations a press release early Saturday evening. It is reprinted here in its entirety.

Details in Shooting Incident Released

On Friday, April 14, at 9:52 a.m., the Eureka Police Department Dispatch was contacted by an employee of Humboldt County Mental Health. The staff person requested that police officers be sent to 516 G Street to check the welfare of a female who was off her medication and making threatening statements.

The employee advised Eureka Police that the female would be extremely hostile to law enforcement if they contacted her. The uniformed officers who responded could hear very loud music and yelling in the apartment but could not get an answer at the door or by phone.

Eureka Police officers were assisted by the building owner in obtaining a key to the apartment. As the door to the apartment swung open, a female, partially shielded by a wall, was yelling and pointing a handgun at the officers. The officers took cover. The door to the apartment was slammed shut and locked by someone inside the apartment. Additional assistance was summoned at this time.

Attempts by the Crisis Negotiation personnel to speak with the female or anyone else in the apartment were unsuccessful.

Ambulance and fire personnel were staged nearby as the female had made threats to set fire to the building and to shoot people outside.

A decision was made to have the SWAT team enter the apartment if police observers, positioned across the street, believed the female had put the weapon down and they knew her location in the room. When this occurred, the SWAT team entered.

Upon the SWAT team’s entry, the suspect was in possession of a weapon. The suspect was shot.

Medical aid was administered at the scene, but the suspect died. It was determined no other persons were in the room.

At the direction of EPD Chief David Douglas, the Humboldt County Critical Incident Response Team was requested to conduct the investigation. The California Department of Justice assisted in the evidence collection at the scene and is conducting further forensic examinations.

The Humboldt County Coroner took custody of the deceased woman and is handling the notifications and name release.

When Owsley was asked about the word “handgun” used to describe the flare gun Moore possessed, she responded that interviews with SWAT team members were continuing. “Until we finish the interviews, we won’t know what they know. At this point, it’s a handgun.”

In scanned radio communications between police officers before Moore was killed, the weapon was consistently described as a flare gun. Owsley was asked if these communications had been recorded, and she said she believed they had been and would be used in the investigation.

From photographs taken at the scene before Moore was shot by police, she appeared to be in her 50s and was wearing a neck brace. Friends and neighbors described the woman as mentally ill.

As for what happens next in the investigation, Owsley said it was in the hands of the Critical Incident Response Team. “It’s up to them now. As they provide us with information, we’ll release it.”

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

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