The family of a man accused of shooting two Canyon County sheriffs deputies is disputing reports from a national organization that he is a white supremacist with ties to local hate groups, saying hes long regretted getting the phrase white power tattooed on his chest.
Hes not with the Hammerskins or anything like that, said Ryan Batt, older brother of 27-year-old suspected gunman Kyle Batt. He has a couple of friends hes know for a long time who are basically kind of racist, but its nothing like an organized group.
Ryan Batt, 33, said his brother is recovering from a police bullet in one of his legs and a self-inflicted gunshot to his head that required surgery to reconstruct the left side of his jaw. Ryan Batt visited him at a Boise physical rehabilitation center Thursday and said he appears to have no memory of the incident.
One of the first things he said was do you know how this happened? Batt told the Idaho Statesman. Batt said his brother had started taking medications for mood swings a couple weeks before the Oct. 23 shooting. He was distraught about a fight with his girlfriend and had been drinking whiskey heavily before the deputies found him at his fathers house at 2104 Sheryl Lane in Caldwell.
If youre that tanked on whiskey and your bodys still getting used to the meds, who knows what caused it. But hes a good guy, Ryan Batt said.
Kyle Batt has yet to be charged in connection with the shootings or the alleged assault against the mother of his child that police say occurred earlier that day, in part because taxpayers would have to pay for his medical bills if he was arrested while in treatment.
Its unclear when he would be able to stand trial.
The Nampa Police Department is leading the investigation into the shootings. Officials havent said what criminal charges Batt may face, but law enforcements description of what happens indicates they believe Batt intended to kill at least one of the deputies. Sgt. Tim Randall said that, after shooting one of the deputies in an arm, Batt fired bullets into the deputys chest as he ran by. The deputys bulletproof vest saved his life.
That deputy has not yet returned to work, but his coworker returned to patrol this week.
Both deputies are to be honored with footballs autographed by Boise State football coach Chris Petersen before Saturdays game. The men and their families were given complimentary tickets. Canyon County officials have refused to identify them but say their names will be released Saturday.
The Anti-Defamation League, a Washington, D.C.-non profit that tracks hate groups, identified Batt as a white supremacist on its website Nov. 5 and described the shootings as the latest in a string of nearly 30 shootouts between police and domestic extremists in the United States since 2009. The ADL says Batt has ties Treasure Valley hate groups, including to members of the Hammerskin Nation, though the organization said its unclear if he attended the music festival hosted by the white power group in Canyon County in October.
Ryan Batt said his brother wasnt at the concert, and he reiterated that he doesnt believe his brother has anti-government views that prompted him to shoot the deputies.
After he had his daughter he tried to stay as far away from that crap as possible, Batt said.
He said his brother argued with the mother of his 11-month-old daughter earlier that day, and the womans father called police. Police say they had probable cause to arrest Kyle Batt for aggravated assault, but Ryan Batt said his brother never threatened the woman with a gun.
A gun was sitting on the passenger seat of his truck, Batt said. Kyle Batt has a felony conviction for marijuana in Boise County that prohibits him from possessing firearms.
Meghann M. Cuniff: 377-6418