Woman fatally shoots husband during violent domestic dispute involving children

Authorities in Bonner County, Idaho, announced Thursday that a woman who fatally shot her husband during a violent domestic dispute last week acted in self-defense and will not face charges.

According to Bonner County Undersheriff David Hale, Scott Spangler, 55, assaulted his wife and choked her before threatening to retrieve a gun and kill her and the couple’s two 9-year-old children, who were home at the time and witnessed the incident unfold.

In an effort to keep his wife from calling for help, Spangler gathered up all of the phones in the house and hid them from her. But the woman found a phone and placed an open-line 911 call around 11:30 p.m. Hale told the Bonner County Daily Bee although the woman was unable to speak to the 911 dispatcher, the operator could clearly hear screams and sounds of a violent struggle. During this time, the woman was also able to arm herself with a .380-caliber handgun.

Related: Does the presence of a firearm escalate domestic violence to murder?

At some point, while the 911 call was still open, Spangler discovered his wife retrieved a phone and placed the call, which only further infuriated him. With the 911 operator still listening in the background, Spangler then charged at his wife, prompting her to open fire, striking him twice. Both bullets hit Spangler in the arm, but one traveled from his arm into his torso.

Even after being shot, Spangler continued to attack his wife, dragged her into the kitchen and grabbed a pair of scissors while threatening to kill her. But before further harm came to the woman, Spangler lost consciousness, presumably from his injuries.

“This was all able to be heard through the 911 call,” Hale said.

Once Spangler was unconscious, the woman took her children, fled from the home and placed a second call to 911. Soon thereafter, deputies arrived on the scene where they found Spangler. CPR was administered, but efforts to revive Spangler failed and he was pronounced dead on the scene.

“We’ve reviewed quite a bit of video and quite a bit of audio with this,” Hale said. “And I can assure you some fairly valiant efforts were performed by the deputies and medical personnel.”

Hale said the sheriff’s department worked closely with the prosecutor on the case and they are all in agreement that the woman acted in self-defense when she shot and killed her husband. The woman was reported to have received injuries consistent with a self-defense struggle and was hospitalized following the incident.

Spangler does not appear to have a prior criminal history and authorities confirmed they never received any calls to the home in the past.