ER In aftermath of shooting, many questions remain
by Heather Muller , 4/17/2006
In the day following the Eureka Police Department’s release of details of the shooting that left 48-year-old Eureka resident Cheri Moore dead, many questions remain unanswered.
Moore was shot and killed by police after brandishing a flare gun during a standoff that lasted an estimated two and a half hours.
Moore’s older brother, Gary Holt, wants to know if the shooting was justified.
A real estate developer from Medford, Ore., Holt said, “I’m an open-minded person, but I don’t agree with what I’m seeing so far.”
He said he plans to discuss the matter with the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office today.
“If they’re justified, then OK,” Holt said, “but what I’m seeing now puts up some flags.”
Marcus Smith’s question is even simpler.
“I just want to know why,” said Smith, a local business owner who had been a friend of Moore for approximately eight years.
“Why couldn’t they have tranquilized her? Why couldn’t they use bean bags or flash-bangs or something? Why did they have to shoot her? Why did she have to die?” he said.
Smith described Moore as “a real sweet lady who just was full of life. She was a joy to be around, but she got depressed when she didn’t have her medication.”
Smith talked to Moore twice by phone during the standoff. The first time, “She was frantically trying to explain to me what was going on,” he said.
The second time was different. “She knew they were going to shoot her. She said she didn’t want to die, but she thought maybe it was her time to go,” Smith said.
He said Moore told him she needed to see a doctor. “She said, ‘I need my doctor from mental health to come see me right now and bring me my medication, because I need it real bad.’”
Smith said she also talked about her landlord. Over the past several months, he said she had repeatedly accused her landlord of harassing her. Smith said he didn’t think the accusations were true.
“She had something wrong with her, and when she didn’t take her medication she didn’t act right, and she knew it,” he said.
Smith said Moore had told him she was suing the landlord, and that she said she had called police herself the morning she was killed because she believed the landlord had tried to break down her door.
It is unclear whether the “building owner” who police said let officers into Moore’s apartment for a welfare check around 10 a.m. is the same person Moore was afraid of.
The EPD stated in an official announcement Saturday that Moore was “pointing a handgun at the officers” when they entered. Moore was later seen waving an orange flare gun at the window of her apartment.
The EPD stated that attempts by crisis negotiation personnel to speak with Moore were unsuccessful. A couple of hours later, Moore’s door opened again, and she was shot multiple times by police.
“I don’t know how things work in California,” Holt said, “but there are protocols up here police have to follow. Maybe there were other avenues they could have taken.”
Holt said he couldn’t remember the last time he had seen his sister. “We were not a close family, but that doesn’t matter.”
He said he lost two family members on the same day. The father of Holt and Moore died in his sleep Friday night.
Still, Holt said, he wasn’t going to draw any conclusions before the facts of the case were made known.
“As far as I’m concerned, this is a police homicide. But I’m not going to pass judgment, because I don’t have enough information. I’m not going to run on a short fuse. We’re going to look at everything.”
He added, “If it’s right, it’s right, and if it’s not there’s going to be a problem.”
Copyright (C) 2005, The Eureka Reporter. All rights reserved.