IDAHO– Jeanetta Marie Riley, a homeless 35-year-old mother of three and stepmother of one, was brought to the hospital on July 8, 2014. Her concerned husband who was hoping to obtain assistance as his wife had a history of mental health issues as well as a tragic past. The woman was armed with a knife and had been threatening suicide. The Guardian reports that the woman was pregnant when her life was taken.
(Guardian) Jeanetta and Shane were snapping at each other on the day she died, and doing so in front of her 13-year-old, Hannah, who had joined them camping for her vacation. The trio went fishing, panhandled beside a gas station and ate dinner at a shelter for the homeless.
But by late afternoon, the arguments were intensifying and Jeanetta was talking about harming herself. The couple dropped off Hannah at her stepfather’s house and returned to their camp beside the lake, picking up a bottle of vodka along the way.
After drinking half the bottle, Shane said, Jeanetta threatened to kill herself. When Shane heard Jeanetta toying with blades, he decided to drive her to Bonner General Hospital. He said Jeanetta sounded delirious, ranting about stabbing people and killing herself.
“This isn’t a joke,” Shane told his wife. “It’s not a game.”
Shane parked the van on the road outside the emergency room. Jeanetta took a fillet knife with a three-and-a-half-inch blade from beneath the car seat. Shane ran inside, pleading for help.
Rose Brinkmeier, who was behind the desk, later told police how a man in a white shirt came rushing in and said: “I need to you to call the police. My wife’s outside. She has a knife and she wants to kill people.”
Brinkmeier asked a nurse to hit a panic button, putting the hospital in lockdown, and then dialled 911 to pass the message onto Sandpoint police.
“Boom. They showed up pretty fast,” Shane recalled. Jeanetta was dead within 15 seconds.
Two body cameras and a third attached to a police dashboard leave no ambiguity over what happened when officers Michael Valenzuela, 27, and Garrett Johnson, 23, arrived in one car, and officer Skyler Ziegler, 29, in a second.
It was 9.16pm, the sky a dusky cyan. Jeanetta was in the van, holding the half-empty bottle of vodka and the knife, the passenger door open. Shane was next to the vehicle, trying to calm his wife. When the police arrived, Shane crossed the road, gesturing over his shoulder to point to his wife.
All three officers immediately took their weapons out and moved toward Jeanetta, who was 40ft away. She walked briskly toward them, the knife at her side.
“Walk over here,” Ziegler shouted. “Show me your hands.”
“Fuck you,” Jeanetta shouted. “No.”
Johnson, who had taken out his Glock 22 pistol, was standing slightly to the side.
Valenzuela had both hands clasping an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle. He would later tell investigators he picked up the firearm because it happened to have been dislodged from his vehicle’s weapons rack en route to the hospital.
Ziegler, who was beside him, seemed unsure which weapon to use; in the space of seven seconds he returned his handgun to its holster, replaced it with a Taser-style stun gun that cast a red laser dot on Jeanetta’s torso, only to put it away and switch back to his handgun.
Repeatedly, Valenzuela and Ziegler shouted at Jeanetta to drop the knife. She refused: “Bring it on! No!”
Jeanetta was stepping off the curb, into the road and toward the two officers, when it happened. In 0.8 seconds, five bullets were discharged from both firearms. Three hit Jeanetta in the torso; one penetrated her heart.
She was 10ft from Valenzuela, who later told detectives he believed she was “absolutely gonna thrust at me”. “I decided at that point to pull the trigger,” he said. Ziegler recalled how the knife looked “huge in her hands”. He said he saw Valenzuela’s muzzle flash and felt himself “like following through with my trigger”.
Jeanetta was slumped on the road, face-down, when Ziegler cuffed her hands behind her back and asked in a panicked voice: “Ma’am, are you still with us?”