BPD Chief addresses the police shooting that resulted in the death of Payton Wasson

BPD Police Chief Ron Winegar press conference
Posted at 12:00 PM, Jun 30, 2023

BOISE, Idaho — Boise Police Chief Ron Winegar released a statement and addressed the public at a news conference regarding the police shooting that caused the death of Payton Wasson on June 24.

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"Saturday’s shooting in downtown Boise was a tragedy for the Wasson family, it was a tragedy for those who were witnesses and for our community,” said Winegar. “If this incident involved a member of my family, I too would want more information about what happened. We are investigating what happened to ensure integrity and accountability. To that end, an internal investigation is underway.”

The officer has been identified as C. Feldner, an 8-1/2 year veteran of the department who is currently on paid administrative leave, as per department policy, during the investigation.

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The Boise Police have provided additional information regarding the initial incident, stating that they were investigating a potential gang related activity and/or narcotics sale. A vehicle belonging to Mario Garza, 26, of Kuna, was believed to be involved in the incident.

Police located the vehicle downtown near 5th and Idaho, where it was reported that Garza's parole officer requested that BPD search the vehicle. While contacting the suspects as they returned to the vehicle, one of the suspects, Wasson, attempted to flee on foot. Officers reported they observed Wasson carrying a handgun and commanded him to stop. Ignoring police commands resulted in an officer firing their weapon and hitting Wasson with a shot to his head. A firearm was recovered from the incident.

Wasson passed away the following day as a result of the injury.

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Police detained Garza at the scene after finding him to be in possession of fentanyl pills, and he was booked into Ada County Jail for felony possession of a controlled substance.

Winegar has committed to making any body-cam video of the incident available once the investigation clears it for release. Information and transparency are necessary, says Winegar, to aid in building trust between the Boise Police Department and the community.

When asked by reporters what led to the officer firing his weapon, Winegar explained that the use of deadly force in any incident would be merited if the officer felt threatened, or if the officer felt that someone else was in imminent danger.

No information was given regarding the exact circumstances that led to the officer in this incident firing his weapon.

Winegar offered his and the department's condolences to Wasson's family.