Spirit Lake Police Chief Michael Morlan speaks at the press conference on Friday, February 9, 2024, in Spirit Lake, Idaho.
Details Emerge in the Fatal Shooting of Spirit Lake Woman, Officers’ Actions Justified by Law
SPIRIT LAKE, IDAHO – On Friday, February 9, 2024, the Spirit Lake Police Department held a press conference following the release of Kootenai County Prosecutor Stanley Mortensen’s legal review of the police-involved shooting death of SA Floyd on November 1, 2023.
“I have concluded that the homicide of SA Floyd was justified under Idaho law,” Mortensen stated in his report. “In reaching this conclusion, I have considered only the information known to the officers at the time Officer Windrem fired his weapon.”
Expressing frustration about their inability to speak directly with the community before the prosecutor’s investigation had concluded with a legal analysis of the finding of fact, Spirit Lake Police Chief Michael Morlan stated, “I believe this conference is long overdue, three months overdue. So I want to apologize to the citizens of Spirit Lake and the media … Hopefully tonight we are going to clear some things up for you.”
Two Spirit Lake police officers were involved, Chief Morlan and Officer Windrem. Both officers were wearing body cameras that captured the incident, and the camera footage was played during the press conference, along with audio of the 9-1-1 call that initiated the tragedy.
On the evening of November 1, 2023, David Malloy, a man whose wife had befriended Floyd, called 9-1-1 stating his concern that Floyd was depressed and possibly suicidal. “She’s pretty much blind and a senior,” Malloy told the operator. There was no mention of why Malloy believed Floyd would harm herself, beyond a text she sent to Malloy’s wife stating that she was “out of fight,” and the claim that she was being evicted.
Chief Morlan stated he was unaware at the time he entered Floyd’s premises that she was blind, leading to questions about what information was relayed from dispatch to the responding officers. Malloy, who had forced entry into Floyd’s apartment and was on scene when officers arrived, did not share her health status directly with Morlan or Windrem. The 9-1-1 call revealed Malloy was unsure of Floyd’s exact age, did not have knowledge of any previous suicidal ideations, and was unaware that Floyd possessed firearms.
When officers received no response from Floyd after knocking on her bedroom door, and were told by Malloy it had been an hour since there had been any contact with her, they breached the door.
Windrem shined a flashlight into the bedroom from behind Morlan, who was in the threshold instructing Floyd to show her hands. At this point, Floyd responded, “Who are you?” While Windrem and Morlan were stating they were the police, Floyd is heard saying, “Leave me alone.” She repeated, “Leave me alone,” as Morlan stated they were there to check on her well-being. Floyd responded a third time, “Leave me alone,” to which Morlan replied, “Can I just see your hands, and we’ll leave you alone.”
When Vikki Malloy called out to Floyd that she was there, Floyd asked, “Why are you here?”
According to the body camera footage, Floyd stated, “Leave me alone,” eight times before Morlan removed the blanket that covered her. She again stated, “Leave me alone,” just after the blanket was removed, then fired a revolver she held in her hand. Floyd repeated, “Leave me alone,” two more times before Windmer fired his weapon fifteen times.
At the time of the press conference, Lieutenant Eric Reade with the Spirit Lake Police Department was unable to verify how many of Windmer’s fifteen rounds struck Floyd, or where Floyd’s single round landed. The Spokane Medical Examiner’s autopsy report found that SA Floyd’s death was due to multiple gunshot wounds.
In his six-page report, Mortensen laid out the facts and legal analysis, summarizing that, “Officer Windrem and Chief Morlan had reason to believe that SA Floyd was a threat to herself and/or that she had already harmed herself. Officer Windrem and Chief Morlan lawfully entered SA Floyd’s apartment for the purpose of checking her welfare, preventing her from committing suicide, and/or saving her life. While officers attempted to check her welfare, SA Floyd presented herself to be a deadly threat to Officer Windrem and Chief Morlan by pointing and discharging the revolver at them and/or in their direction. As Officer Windrem attempted to leave the apartment, SA Floyd continued to present herself to be a deadly threat to Officer Windrem. As such, Officer Windrem was justified in using deadly force in order to stop SA Floyd and/or protect himself from SA Floyd. Therefore, I conclude that Officer Windrem and Chief Morlan committed no crimes in this matter.”
Reade disclosed that Windrem has not returned to duty, and declined to comment further on the officer’s status. “We are praying for him, it’s a very difficult situation,” Reade stated. An administrative review of the officer’s use-of-force was conducted by the Shoshone County Sheriff’s Office. Chief Morlan said his department will begin going through the report to evaluate if there is a need for policy changes or a need to provide additional training to officers, including himself. “We’ll ensure, hopefully, that a tragedy like this never happens again,” Morlan stated. The department currently has seven sworn officers providing law enforcement services to the City of Spirit Lake.