Spirit Lake police release body cam after officers were justified in fatally shooting a woman
Following the Kootenai County Prosecutor's report that Spirit Lake police officers were justified in fatally shooting a woman in her senior apartment complex, Spirit Lake Police Chief Michael Morlan held a press conference to share more information about the incident. During the conference, Morlan showed Spirit Lake residents the body cam footage from both officers who were involved and acknowledged that the department should have shared more information with the community.
Last November, Morlan and Officer James Windrem responded to a report of a mental health crisis at a senior living complex. When they arrived, they tried to talk with the victim, S.A. Floyd, but she eventually raised a weapon at the officers. After this occurred, Windrem fired approximately 15 shots at Floyd, killing her.
After the shooting, the Kootenai County Sheriff's Office (KCSO) was assigned to investigate the incident and share its findings with the prosecutor. During the investigation, information was extremely limited.
Before Chief Morlan spoke at all about the incident itself, he first apologized to the residents of Spirit Lake for the lack of information.
"I feel this conference has been long overdue. Three months overdue," he said. "I know I watched the news, weekly and nightly, for some time, not being able to say a thing. So hopefully tonight, we are going to clear some things up for you."
Because the investigation is now over, Morlan showed residents the officers' body camera footage from the night of the shooting. In the footage, Morlan and Windrem can be seen walking into Floyd's home and knocking on her bedroom door. Floyd didn't respond to the officers, so they kicked the door open in an attempt to talk to her.
Once in the bedroom, the video shows the officers walking up to Floyd's bed, where she is lying under the covers, and repeatedly telling them to leave her alone. Eventually, Morlan pulled the covers off of Floyd and saw she was holding a gun.
Morlan and Windrem can then be seen running out of Floyd's bedroom to avoid being shot. As the two officers were leaving, a gunshot can be heard coming from Floyd's bedroom, followed by Floyd saying, "Leave me alone." Morlan can also be seen tripping and falling while trying to leave the room.
After Floyd fired her weapon, Windrem can be seen walking from the bathroom across the hall to the entrance to Floyd's bedroom. The report from the Kootenai County Prosecutor said he saw Floyd moving on the bed with her gun pointed at his face and quickly returned to concealment.
The report said he tried to look again and saw that Floyd was trying to get out of bed with the gun still in her hand; however, this can't be seen in the body cam footage.
After Windrem said he saw Floyd trying to get up, the body cam footage shows him firing five shots, emptying the magazine. Floyd can be heard groaning loudly after the initial shots. He then reloads the gun and fires ten more shots at Floyd.
Moving forward, should another police shooting happen in Spirit Lake, Morlan said the department will provide as much information as possible without jeopardizing the investigation. He added that he wished the public would have received more information from KCSO earlier in the investigation.
"I was hopeful that the lead agency would provide that information to all of you, and at least provide the information that we had been fired upon," Morlan said. "But again, that didn't happen. So we waited three months, and we waited for the prosecutor to come out with their report. And here we are."