Officers cleared in Kuna shooting

Posted at 12:49 PM, Apr 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-24 14:49:27-04

Three Kuna Police officers correctly followed Ada County Sheriff’s Office policies on use of force when they shot a 72-year-old man who pointed a gun at them from inside his car last fall, according to the findings of the Critical Incident Task Force that investigated the incident.

A jury trial is set for July for Edgar Hafen, changed with felony assault or battery upon law enforcement in connection with the case.

Blaine County Prosecutor Jim Thomas reviewed the Ada County Critical Incident Task Force report into the shooting of Hafen on Nov. 10th and determined the officers' decision to fire “was an appropriate use of deadly force in order to protect themselves and other law enforcement officers” nearby.

An Ada County Sheriff’s Office internal investigation drew the same conclusion -- and determined Kuna Police officers Wes Bunnell, Vishal Sahni, and Nolan Zorn followed all ACSO policies during the incident -– which also involved a low-speed car pursuit that ended in the desert south of Kuna.

Thomas reviewed hours of interviews, video recordings from the officers’ body cameras, forensic evidence, photographs, medical records, and a variety of other reports -— all generated and collected by the CITF.

The incident began the evening of Nov. 10th when one of Hafen’s family members contacted Canyon County Sheriff’s deputies. They were concerned Hafen may try to hurt himself, according to an Ada County Sheriff’s Office news release.

Canyon County deputies found Hafen driving near Melba and attempted to pull him over.

Hafen kept driving, though, eventually making his way into Ada County -- where Kuna Police took over the pursuit around 6:20 p.m. as he drove east on Kuna Road. Hafen refused to pull over and kept going, eventually turning south onto Swan Falls Road.

Kuna police officers followed Hafen until he slowed down enough at Victory Lane for an officer to do a PIT (Pursuit Intervention Technique) maneuver, where the patrol car strikes the side of the other car and causes it to abruptly move sideways and stop.

Three Kuna Police officers —- Sahni, Zorn, and Bunnell -— got out of their cars and told Hafen to get out of his vehicle. Hafen refused the commands -- and pointed a handgun at the officers. The officers fired, and Hafen dropped his gun out the window, the release stated.

None of the three officers were injured.

Paramedics treated Hafen at the scene, then transported him to a local hospital.

Reports say it was later discovered that Hafen was holding a replica 1911 Colt-style semi-automatic pistol BB gun. When asked later why he pointed the BB gun at officers, Hafen said he “pulled the gun out so they would shoot away.” He also told investigators he knew it was a BB gun, but to officers it would look like a 1911 handgun.

Hafen also told paramedics that night he “didn’t care either way” when they asked if he was trying to commit suicide, the release said.