REXBURG — A police officer standing on a lawn shot a man who was apparently trying to run him over, Rexburg Police Chief Shane Turman said.
Turman held a news conference Tuesday afternoon to tell the public what happened during the early morning hours of Tuesday, Oct. 22.
Police received a 911 call from a woman at 12:55 a.m. She said she needed the cops sent to her apartment at 222 West Second North.
“The caller stated her boyfriend was going to kill himself, and she was locked in her car,” Turman said during the news conference. “She stated it was really bad, that he’s drunk and might have a knife on him. The caller became frantic and stated, ‘Please have them come now. Please make them come now.’”
The woman told police her boyfriend was 22-year-old Ashtyne Lane Whiting. The first officer arrived at 12:58 a.m. and asked the woman where Whiting was. She said she did not know and said, “He didn’t hurt me, but it was getting to that point.”
Seconds later, Turman said, a vehicle could be heard and seen approaching the apartment building at a “very high rate of speed.” The woman then told the officer, “That’s probably him. That’s him, yeah, that’s him.”
“The driver of the vehicle turns the vehicle to the curb and while revving the engine several times, backs up, screeching the tires and then proceeds to, accelerates toward, the area where the officer is standing and where the caller had been talking with the officer,” Turman said. “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.”
Turman said Whiting then turned his car toward the driveway and the officer fired four more rounds — all within one minute. One bullet hit Whiting in his upper left shoulder and grazed his calf, according to Turman.
“Backup officers arrived, and the suspect (was) then taken into custody. Officers called for an ambulance, which arrived moments later,” Turman said.
Whiting was taken to Madison Memorial Hospital and released later that day. He was charged with driving under the influence but additional charges could be filed when the Eastern Idaho Critical Incident Task Force completes its investigation and the Madison County prosecutor reviews the findings.
Turman declined to release the name of the officer who fired the shots until after the task force completes its investigation, which could be next week. That officer is on leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
Turman said three officers arrived after the shooting.
“Our officer was doing what he felt to be the right thing at that time,” Turman said. “He was put in a very (tense) moment where a lot of critical thinking had to be made very quickly. We ask for patience as we continue through with the investigation.”