Boise Police Department sees uptick in police shootings

Wednesday night marked the fifth Boise Police shooting in 2023.

BOISE, Idaho — There are now more Boise police shootings in 2023 than all of 2022 after Wednesday night’s shooting in the North End. 

A Boise Police Department spokesperson said the shooting near 19th and Resseguie streets marked the fifth time Boise police have fired their weapons at someone this year. Data gathered from previous BPD news releases show three police shootings in 2022, five in 2021, and 1 shooting in 2020. 

Chief Ron Winegar said he is concerned about the escalating violence. 

“We live in a safe community,” he said. “We enjoy relatively low crime rates in Boise, especially when compared with other cities our size. But I am seeing an increased frequency with which our officers are encountering people willing to use force, deadly force, or weapons against officers in the course of their duties.” 

The first two incidents of 2023 happened in January. The third incident was in March. Wednesday night’s shooting was the second deadly Boise police shooting in the last two months. 

A Boise police officer also shot and killed 22-year-old Payton Wasson in the head on June 24th. Winegar previously called Wasson’s death a “tragedy.”

North End neighbor Erik Hagen said the recent shootings are not what he expects out of Boise. Hagen was getting ready for bed on Wednesday when he heard five loud sounds. He thought they were firecrackers before going outside and seeing all the sirens. 

Police initially responded to reports of someone who was armed. Winegar said the shootout started after police heard gunshots and called for more help. 

Hagen called the whole experience “odd.”

“We know the people that live next door to us, he said. “We know the businesses next door to us. This is not what we do in Idaho; it’s ridiculous.” 

Winegar agrees. He said people using weapons against police is “unacceptable.” 

He said officers on Wednesday night were shot at and acted courageously to try and protect community members. While the entire situation is difficult for the family of the man who died, Winegar also mentioned it is difficult for the officers involved and their family members. 

“[Resolving situations] peacefully is always [the] goal,” he said. “Unfortunately, there are times like this when there is very little other choice. When you are fired upon with gunfire or you’re assaulted with weapons, these incidents become a deadly force encounter. It’s happening all too frequently in our community.” 

Winegar said he does not want to see another police shooting in Boise but thinks it is likely. Making changes to the criminal justice system or mental health system could possibly help fix the issue. Although, Winegar did not go into specifics. 

A BPD spokesperson told KTVB via email that they are always looking for ways to improve the department and the officers’ training. 

No officers were hurt in Wednesday’s shooting. Winegar said the officers involved will be placed on administrative leave while the Ada County Critical Incident Taskforce investigates. 

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