“Didn’t need to happen like that” Drug suspect witnesses officer’s shooting

As Officer Charles Hatley recovers from his injuries sustained in a shootout with a suspect who opened fire on him, one of the men with that suspect – Curtis Ware – shares his side of the deadly encounter.

“We were picking him up to drop him off somewhere but he’s the one who had the drugs for us to buy,” said Eli Darby, one of two men who was Curtis Ware before Ware shot at two Coeur d’Alene Police officers.

Darby, 24, says he was buying meth from Ware on Tuesday, but the drug deal didn’t go as planned. Coeur d’Alene Police spotted their car parked on the wrong side of the street.

“(The officer) approached the vehicle, asked for our IDs, then he asked if any of us had any outstanding warrants or anything like that,” said Darby. “I didn’t have any, Trent didn’t have any, and I’m pretty sure Curtis said no, but after the cop walked away Curtis said he did have some.”

Darby says he knew Ware had drugs on him, but not a gun.

“He pretty much told us that if he got caught he was going to prison for the rest of his life and that we should flee the scene,” said Darby. “And I was telling the driver to not, no, don’t do it.”

Darby says the driver of the car Trenten Szafransky refused to speed off. When Coeur d’Alene Police asked Ware to step out of the car, things took a violent turn.

“He was getting out of the car, and that’s when he opened fire,” said Darby. “(The cops were) just doing their jobs. That’s all they were doing is doing their jobs. He had a warrant, they were trying to detain him and he’s the one who decided to take it to that level.”

Darby says he regrets what happened Tuesday night and wants to share a message with Officer Hatley and his family.

“I’m sorry for what happened, didn’t need to happen like that,” said Darby. “And I wish I could have done something different to maybe stop it.”

Darby and Szafransky are being held inside the Kootenai County Jail on drug charges. Their bonds have been set at $15,000.