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Prosecutor comments on Spirit Lake shooting

by KAYE THORNBRUGH
Staff Writer | March 1, 2024 1:09 AM

The blind Spirit Lake woman fatally shot by police after firing her own weapon last year sustained nine gunshot wounds, according to a news released published Thursday by Kootenai County Prosecuting Attorney Stan Mortensen.

The detail comes almost three weeks after Mortensen said the officer who shot and killed 67-year-old S.A. Floyd in her apartment while conducting a welfare check committed no crimes.

The news release gave insight into the silence from prosecutors between the November 2023 shooting and the Feb. 9 news conference where law enforcement publicly released body camera footage from the event.

“In a criminal case, extrajudicial statements or comments from the prosecutor could prejudice a defendant by impacting their ability to have an impartial jury and/or trial,” the news release said in part. “Regarding investigations the (prosecutor’s office) reviews that do not result in prosecution, the (prosecutor’s office) will usually wait until after the investigations have been completed before issuing a press release.”

Read the full release at cdapress.com.

Prosecutors requested that both Spirit Lake police and the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office, the lead agency investigating the shooting, avoid commenting on the matter until the investigation and legal review were complete, according to the news release.

Earlier this month, the county prosecutor deemed the shooting justified following review of a monthlong investigation into the shooting.

Mortensen said he determined Spirit Lake police officer James Windrem “acted lawfully” and “fired his weapon in an attempt to defend himself,” as well as Spirit Lake Police Chief Michael Morlan and two other people, after Floyd shot at police.

Spirit Lake police responded to the Maple Tree Court senior living apartment where Floyd lived alone after two of her friends called 911, reporting that Floyd was depressed and possibly suicidal.

After entering Floyd’s apartment and kicking down the bedroom door, police found Floyd on the bed, concealed under blankets.

The officers asked to see Floyd’s hands. She declined, so Morlan pulled the blankets off her. Body camera footage showed a dark object peeking out from under a white sheet; Morlan said he saw Floyd holding a revolver and beginning to sit up.

Morlan “tripped and fell at the same moment S.A. Floyd fired her revolver,” prosecutors said.

Meanwhile, Windrem entered the bathroom directly across the hall from the bedroom and fired five rounds into the bedroom at Floyd. He fired 10 more shots into the bedroom, until “he could no longer see S.A. Floyd’s revolver pointed at him.”

Nine bullets hit Floyd in the chest, back, left shoulder and left forearm.

“Not only is there nothing on the video that disputes Officer Windrem’s version of events, the video has corroborated his version of events,” the news release said.

The shooting occurred at 6:34 p.m., according to a timeline provided by the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office. A coroner’s report indicates Floyd was pronounced dead one minute later but does not state who made that determination.

A deputy sheriff arrived at the scene at 6:47 p.m. The scene was then cleared and police needed to obtain a search warrant in order to reenter the apartment.

Floyd was “found deceased” in her bedroom three hours later, at 9:48 p.m., according to the sheriff’s office.

The day after the shooting, Nov. 2, the Spokane County Medical Examiner’s Office conducted an autopsy. The autopsy report was completed Jan. 16, according to the prosecutor’s office. The Kootenai County Coroner’s Office completed a coroner report Jan. 31.

Prosecutors received the autopsy and coroner reports Jan. 31 and completed their review of the shooting Feb. 8.