A Gooding County sheriff's deputy acted appropriately when he shot a Colorado woman following a car chase, the prosecutor appointed to look into the shooting announced Tuesday.
Twin Falls County Prosecutor Grant Loebs said the deputy who shot Hollee Johnston, 39, will not be charged.
Johnston, of Colorado Springs, Colo., was shot once in the abdomen in the parking lot of the Y-Inn Motel in Bliss after a chase that began in Mountain Home. Prior to the shooting, police say, Johnston shot a passenger in her car - Ronald Rice, 40 - then pointed a pistol at first herself, then Elmore and Gooding county sheriff's deputies.
Both Johnston and Rice survived. They were wanted in Ada County in connection with several felonies, including stealing electronics, clothing and personal items from a vehicle in a parking lot near North Five Mile and West Overland Road earlier this year. Rice - of Montgomery, Texas, or Colorado Springs, Colo., according to conflicting law enforcement accounts - also has two Colorado warrants for burglary and drug charges and was accused of stealing a pickup from a Utah car dealership that he drove into Idaho, according to Boise police.
The felonies were reported to Boise police on Feb. 1. According to Loebs' press release, Mountain Home police on Feb. 2 attempted to stop a blue 2010 Nissan Xterra SUV that had one headlight out. The Nissan fled onto Interstate 84, prompting a chase at speeds of more than 100 mph, according to Loebs.
The Nissan left the interstate at Bliss, and deputies from Elmore and Gooding counties surrounded it in the motel parking lot. According to Loebs, Rice exited the SUV with his hands up, at which point Johnston "almost immediately" shot him in the abdomen.
The incidents have resulted in a variety of charges for both Johnston and Rice. Both are currently in the Ada County Jail; Rice was sent to Boise on Feb. 24, while Johnston arrived on March 3. Bond for each one was set at $1 million, according to online court records.
In Ada County, they're each charged with five felonies - two counts of burglary, one of grand theft and two of theft by receiving, possessing or disposing of stolen property - and two misdemeanors - malicious injury to property and petit theft. Rice is also charged with unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon, a misdemeanor, and faces a fugitive warrant.
Online court records showed a sealed case for Johnston Tuesday evening. But earlier in the day Gooding County Sheriff Shaun Gough told the Twin Falls Times-News that Johnston is charged with aggravated battery for shooting Rice, her boyfriend. Johnston is also a suspect in two bank robberies in Las Vegas, Gough said.
Rice's next Ada County court date is a preliminary hearing on March 11. Johnston, arraigned Tuesday, has a similar hearing scheduled for March 18.