Kyle Alan Batt has connections to racist groups in the Treasure Valley, including the Hammerskin Nation, which hosted a white-power concert here last month, according to the Anti-Defamation League, a national organization that tracks extremists.
The revelation provides the most detailed look at the 27-year-old and what could have motivated him to shoot the deputies, whom sheriffs officials have refused to identify publicly. The deputies are said to be recovering well. One is expected to return to patrol this week; the other is undergoing physical rehabilitation.
Batt was struck in the leg by a bullet fired by one of the deputies and later shot himself after a SWAT team surrounded him in a nearby garage. He was released from Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center to a physical rehabilitation center on Nov. 3.
Batt has not been charged in the shooting. If police arrested him now, taxpayers would have to pay his medical bills.
I dont even know if hes capable of standing trial yet anyway," said Canyon County Prosecutor Bryan Taylor.
The ADL describes the Oct. 23 gunfight as the latest in a string of nearly 30 shootouts between police and domestic extremists in the United States since 2009.
Sgt. Tim Randall of the Nampa Police Department, the lead agency investigating the incident, said a bulletproof vest saved the life of one of the deputies by stopping bullets fired by Batt into the deputys chest after the deputy fell to the ground. Randall said Batt fired the shots as he ran by the deputy to try to escape. The deputy was also shot twice in one of his arms.
The second deputy returned fire, Randall said.
The deputies were among five who went to Batts fathers home at 2104 Sheryl Lane in Caldwell searching for the younger Batt. Caldwell police had probable cause to arrest him for an incident earlier that day in which hes accused of threatening his girlfriend with a gun.
Its unclear whether they were aware of Batts supposed ties to violent white supremacists groups. Randall said he hasnt heard his investigators talk about that.
They give to me what they have to release, he said. Im not actually part of the investigation.
Canyon County Sheriff-elect Kieran Donahue said he wasnt aware of Batts history until he heard of the ADLs report.
If the guys knew about it, then thats news to me, he said.
Batt is the grandson of a deceased cousin of former Idaho Gov. Phil Batt and a distant cousin by marriage of Rep. Gayle Batt. Both told the Idaho Statesman that they have never met him and learned of their relation after the shootings.
The ADL said its unclear whether Batt attended the Hammerskin 25th anniversary music festival Oct. 6 near Melba in remote Canyon County. The group said one noted attendee was Brent Rackley, a bandmate of Wade Michael Page, who killed six people in a shooting at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin in August.
Law enforcement reported no incidents at the event. Jeff Basterrechea of the Boise Police Departments gang intelligence unit said he has no record of Batts ties to hate groups. He said everyone Boise police spoke with regarding the Hammerskin music festival lived in Canyon County.
Were still trying to figure out why they even had the concert here, to be quite honest, Basterrechea said. The fact that they kept it so quiet, so underground, tells me this was more or less just for them to get together.
A Nampa tattoo shop owner believed by police to be involved with the festival, Jeremie Kaufman, declined comment on the group when reached by phone, but said hed never heard of Batt.
Basterrechea said hes waiting to see whether Canyon County sheriffs officials will release intelligence files gathered during the event, but that wont happen because Donahue said they dont have any.
We didnt get an investigation list on that, Donahue said. We were aware of it and we had resources in place if things got out of hand, which they didnt.
Founded in 1987 in Dallas, the Hammerskin Nation is described by the Alabama-based Southern Poverty Law Center as one of the oldest, most violent and most dominant skinhead groups in the United States.
The ADL describes Batt not as a full-fledged member of the Hammerskins but as a racist with connections to the groups members. Photos available on the Internet show that he has the phrase white power tattooed on his chest in large letters, as well as at least two neo-Nazi symbols.
Batt pleaded guilty to felony possession of a controlled substance in Boise County in 2004 in a marijuana growing case. He was placed on probation in lieu of two years in prison, but he violated his probation and was resentenced in January 2005 to one to three years in prison, according to the Idaho Department of Correction. But that sentence again was suspended, this time so he could participate in a 180-day educational treatment program at North Idaho Correctional Institution in Cottonwood.
He was released on probation in June 2005 but went back to state custody in January 2008 for another violation. He finally left prison in November 2009.
Batt has an 11-month-old daughter. Neither he nor his family could be reached for comment, and its unclear whether he has an attorney.
Meghann M. Cuniff: 377-6418