TS - 04/28/2006 'Parallel' options

TS 'Parallel' options 04/28/2006

When police spotters saw Cheri Lyn Moore put down her flare gun during an April 14 standoff, the SWAT team forced open her door, taking an “opportunity” to end the two-hour-plus standoff, Police Chief Dave Douglas said Thursday.

Within seconds she was dead after pointing a cocked and loaded gun at the officers. The action came after attempts to reach her by telephone were spotty -- and ultimately unsuccessful. The forced entry was one of three “parallel” options to end the situation, Douglas said.

The timing was based on the opportunity to enter while her hands were empty, he said.

”It could have occurred in a minute, five minutes or five hours and other options might have worked in that period,” Douglas said at a 90-minute news conference.

He said Moore made threats to bystanders and police believed there was a “strong likelihood” she might fire the flare gun. There were also reports Moore might have had a .38-caliber or a 9 mm handgun.

”They entered with the hope of catching Cheri Moore with her hands free and being able to resolve the situation,” he said.

But Arizona ballistics expert Ronald Scott, who has investigated dozens of police-involved shootings during a 25-year career with the Massachusetts State Police, had concerns about why police were sent into Moore's apartment.

He said police worries about people stuck in neighboring apartments should not have triggered a decision to use deadly force. With police and fire personnel immediately available, police could have waited out the situation, Scott said. He also said that tear gas and a trained police dog might have been used once a decision was made to go in.

The question comes with the timing of the order.

Scott said that once SWAT officers were ordered to storm the apartment and faced Moore with the flare gun, they had little choice but to shoot.

”But surely the decision-making process leaves a lot to be desired,” Scott said.

Kimberly Wear and John Driscoll The Times-Standard
Article Launched: 04/28/2006 04:27:00 AM PDT

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