By RALPH BARTHOLDT
Hagadone News Network
A Coeur d’Alene Police trainee is recovering after being shot in the stomach Tuesday by a gunman who was slain moments later by officers near the Ironwood Plaza in Coeur d’Alene.
Coeur d’Alene Police Chief Lee White said patrol officer Charles Hatley is doing well following surgery at Kootenai Health.
The newly hired patrol officer was taking part in field training with an experienced officer, Taylor Beach, when he was shot once by Curtis B. Ware, 34, a three-time felon awaiting sentencing on drug charges and wanted because he failed to comply with a pre-sentencing requirement.
Ware allegedly drew a handgun when police attempted to arrest him on Hattie Avenue, a block northwest of the Ironwood Mall around 7 p.m. Tuesday, and began firing at police. He was shot multiple times by officers and killed.
Hatley, who was shot once through the gunbelt on his left side, was standing up and walking a day after his surgery, said White, at a Wednesday press conference at the Coeur d’Alene Police Department.
“He’s doing well,” White said. “He stood out of bed today. He still has some recovering to do.”
According to witness reports, the police patrol team stopped a black Volkswagen Jetta on Hattie Avenue. When officers attempted to arrest Ware — one of the three occupants — for a felony warrant, a gunfight ensued and Ware lay dead in a residential yard. One handgun was recovered at the scene, White said. The two other occupants of the Jetta were arrested. The incident is being investigated by Idaho State Police.
“He exited the car and shot at officers,” White said. “They returned fire and Hatley was struck once in the abdomen.”
Hatley, a father of a 7-week-old, was loaded into the back of a patrol car and driven to Kootenai Health where he underwent surgery.
The two other occupants of the vehicle, 24-year-old Eli W. Darby, of Post Falls, and Trent D. Szafransky, 23, of Rathdrum, were arrested for one count of felony possession of methamphetamine and for misdemeanor possession of paraphernalia. Both men are being held in the Kootenai County Jail on a $15,000 bond.
White said police have not determined how many shots were fired and the details of the gunfight are still being learned.
“It was a very rapidly evolving situation,” White said.
Officers who are part of such incidents are allowed time away from the department if they need time to decompress, he said.
The department three years ago, lost an officer, Sgt. Greg Moore, in a similar incident, when Moore was shot in the face by Jonathan Renfro, who was high on methamphetamine. Renfro is on death row.
White said the department is still recovering from the Moore incident and although the outcome of Tuesday’s shooting was less austere, it still rocked the department.
“It still has a big impact,” White said.
Ware’s criminal history goes back to 2003 in Ada County, where he was sentenced to between three and five years in prison for forgery. The sentence was suspended after Ware served 180 days on a prison rider program, according to the Idaho Deptartment of Correction. He was released on probation in 2004 and was arrested the same year for eluding a police officer. Ware was again sentenced to between two and five years, with both sentences to run concurrently. He was released on parole in 2007, but because of a violation was back in custody in 2008 until being released by the probation and parole department a year later. Ware was convicted in Kootenai County of possession of a controlled substance, his third felony, and was required by the court to meet with an investigator for the preparation of a pre-sentence report. When he failed to meet for the court-ordered appointment this month, a warrant was issued for his arrest.