CALDWELL, Idaho — Two Caldwell Police officers who shot and killed a 92-year-old man after they say he pointed a gun at them in November 2021 were cleared in the shooting, according to investigatory reports.
The incident happened on the 19000 block of Alleghenny Way in Caldwell before 1 a.m. on Nov. 16, 2021. The Critical Incident Task Force (CITF) - led by Idaho State Police - recently wrapped up its investigation into the interaction between Caldwell police and Kernie Armstrong.
The Twin Falls County Prosecutors Office reviewed the CITF investigation and found no evidence to support a criminal charge against the Caldwell Police officers involved.
Police reports obtained by 7Investigates detail a neighbor calling 911 to report a suspicious person driving back and forth down their street. When officers arrived, they went to talk to the person in the driver's seat.
Armstrong was in the driver's seat, parked across the street from where he lived. The two responding officers said Armstrong immediately pointed his revolver at them.
They ran back and as Armstrong continued pointing his gun at them, the officers shot him multiple times in the head and chest, killing him.
Other officers who responded after the shooting say they found two guns in Armstrong's car.
After the incident, investigatory reports show neighbors told officers they helped take care of 92-year-old Armstrong for the past year because he suffered from dementia and paranoia. Armstrong's son also confirmed what the neighbors said to 7Investigates on Thursday.
Police reports note neighbors telling officers that Armstrong always carried guns and had a large firearms collection.
Another Caldwell officer wrote in his report after the incident that he came in contact with Armstrong hours earlier, on Nov. 15, outside a Jacksons in Caldwell.
Armstrong expressed fear for his life but the officer didn't think he was a threat to himself or anyone else, according to his report. During the interaction, the officer said Armstrong also told him he was a gun collector.
Armstrong's son Glenn told 7Investigates he didn't know the CITF investigation had wrapped up and that any reports were filed. He feels he's been in the dark since the day his father died.
"It's a shock and surprise that the news knows more about Kernie's death than the family does," Glenn said.
Glenn said he doesn't know how the situation escalated to such a tragic ending.
Canyon County Prosecuting Attorney Bryan Taylor requested Twin Falls County Prosecuting Attorney Grant Loebs review the CITF investigation into the deadly force incident involving Kernie Armstrong.
According to the CITF letter, Loebs said after reviewing evidence, reading the reports and meeting with Idaho State Police detectives, he found the officers were acting in self-defense and were concerned that Kernie posed a threat to them and others.
"Therefore, when the Caldwell Police Officers shot Armstrong, they were not only lawfully defending themselves and other law enforcement officers, but were acting to protect the general public from imminent danger," Loebs wrote. "Based on the foregoing, I have concluded that Caldwell Police Officers who fired on Kernie Armstrong were justified in using deadly force."
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