REXBURG — Rexburg Police Department officials on Tuesday shed some light on the Oct. 22 officer-involved shooting.
Rexburg Police Chief Shane Turman said the incident occurred at 12:55 a.m. Dispatch received a 911 call from a young female adult.
The caller told dispatch that she needed officers to come to her home, on West Second North, because her boyfriend was trying to kill himself. The boyfriend was identified as Ashton Whiting. The incident was reported to the police as a domestic incident.
“She was locked in her car and stated ‘it’s really bad,’” Turman said.
The first officer arrived on scene at 12:58 a.m. He parked his vehicle a few houses down and met with the caller outside. The caller said the boyfriend was drunk, left in his vehicle, and possibly had a knife.
The caller said that the boyfriend hadn’t hurt her “but it was getting to that point.” The caller then stated that she wanted to contact her mother.
Turman said that within seconds of the officer’s arrival the suspect’s vehicle could be heard and seen approaching. The caller identified the driver as her boyfriend. The vehicle was traveling east on Second North.
“As it gets closer (the driver) locks his brakes up and goes into a skid, sliding past the residence,” Turman said. “The driver then turned the vehicle toward the curb, revving the engine several times, backs up screeching the tires, and then proceeds to accelerate toward the area where the officer is standing and where the caller had been talking with the officer. At this time the officer, fearing for his safety and that of the caller’s, fires several rounds at the approaching vehicle, which at that moment was headed toward him. The vehicle turns coming to a stop in the driveway and the officer fires four more rounds towards the vehicle. This all occurs in less than one minute.”
Three officers were called as backup and arrived on scene. They arrested the suspect who was struck by a bullet in the upper left shoulder area and had a bullet graze his lower calf as it went through the car door. Other bullets were accounted for, including one that struck a nearby home.
Officers called for an ambulance and transported the suspect to Madison Memorial Hospital. He was evaluated physically and mentally. The suspect was released after being cited with a DUI.
Turman said they had to put into account that there were three factors involved with this incident. A domestic dispute, drinking and a suicide threat.
The Rexburg Police Department is withholding the names of the four officers involved until the investigation is complete.
Turman said that although the man is charged with a DUI, there is a possibility of additional charges but that decision would be up to the county prosecutor.
When asked if the officer followed appropriate actions, Turman said that the reason the department brought in the Southeast Idaho Critical Incident Task Force was to determine if all actions taken were correct.
“Our officer was acting, doing what he felt to be the right thing at the time,” Turman said. “A tenuous moment where a lot of critical thinking had to be made very quickly. We just ask for patience as we continue through with the investigation.”