Coeur d’Alene, ID – A Coeur d’Alene Police Department officer, who was shot in the stomach by a convicted felon during a traffic stop on Tuesday night, is recovering from surgery at a local hospital, the police chief said on Wednesday.
Officer Charles Hatley, who graduated from the patrol academy just two months ago, was expected to make a full recovery, The Spokesman-Review reported.
The shooter, 34-year-old Curtis B. Ware, was killed when assisting officers returned fire.
The incident began at approximately 7 p.m., when Officer Kelly Mongon pulled Ware and his two passengers over. Officer Mongon discovered that Ware had a felony warrant, and called for backup.
When Officer Hatley and field training Officer Taylor Beach arrived at the scene, Ware opened fire, Chief Lee White told The Spokesman-Review.
Witnesses reported having heard over a dozen shots ring out during the exchange of gunfire that ensued.
“Shots fired!” an officer said over the radio, according to The Spokesman-Review. “Where is he? Beach, where is he?”
“One officer hit, I might be hit as well, I can’t tell,” an officer said.
Officer Hatley was loaded into a patrol car by Officer Beach, who then rushed him to a nearby hospital, Chief White said.
Ware was located face down in a yard, and was pronounced dead at the hospital.
Officer Hatley, a married father of a 7-week-old baby, sustained a single bullet wound to the abdomen, after the round penetrated his duty belt, The Spokesman-Review reported. His Tuesday night surgery was a success, and he was expected to make a full recovery.
“He’s a strong young man,” Chief White said, adding that the officer was up and standing on Wednesday morning. “He did extremely well. We’re very proud of him and Officer Beach and all of our officers that responded.”
Officer Hatley was hired by Coeur d’Alene Police Department in September of 2017, and graduated from the basic training academy in December of 2017, KXLY reported.
According to The Spokesman-Review, he worked in the detention division of the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office for four years, prior to joining the department.
Chief White said that Officer Beach, a five-year veteran of the force, is a “phenomenal officer and I can’t wait to get her back on the force when she’s ready,” KXLY reported. “We give our officers time to heal and respond appropriately.”
He expressed appreciation for the local community’s support of the department, and asked that they continue to keep Officer Hatley in their prayers.
“He does have a recovery in front of him,” Chief White said. “It’s not like he’s going to be up running a marathon tomorrow or anything like that.”
The chief expressed concern regarding the growing number of officer shootings in the community in recent years.
In 2015, Sergeant Greg Moore was murdered while he was investigating a suspicious individual in a residential neighborhood, the Associated Press reported.
“We’ve had two officers hit now within three years,” Chief White told The Spokesman-Review. “That is a big deal for a community our size.”
“This is a much different press conference than the one I gave three years ago … [but] it still has a pretty big impact on our department,” he said.
Ware had a lengthy criminal history that included drug possession, probation violations, felon in possession of a firearm, eluding police, and forgery, Chief White told The Spokesman-Review. He also served time in prison from 2004 until 2009.
The felony warrant for Ware’s arrest was issued after he failed to appear in court on charges of felony drug possession and intent to deliver.
The passengers in Ware’s vehicle, 23-year-old Trenton Szafransky, and 24-year-old Eli Darby, were both arrested for drug possession charges at the scene of the shooting, The Spokesman-Review reported.