The man who died in a confrontation with police late Tuesday morning in Kuna has not yet been identified. Investigators have not said whether the man, reportedly in his 30s, exchanged fire with the eight officers who shot at him as he tried to drive away from a house near Ardell Road and Black Hawk Drive.
Ada County Coroner Dotti Owens told the Statesman the man will be identified Wednesday.
About 7 hours before the fatal confrontation, the man reportedly fired eight to 10 shots at a Kuna police officer who tried to pull him over on Linder Road near East Wood Owl Drive, sparking an hourslong search of neighborhoods near Reed Elementary School, Ada County Sheriff’s Capt. Scott Johnson said. The fatal shooting, like all officer-involved shootings, will be investigated by the county’s Critical Incident Task Force, this time led by Idaho State Police.
Officers had been painstakingly searching the neighborhood since about 4 a.m. Kuna officers for the Ada County Sheriff’s Office tried to pull over the man because of “suspected drug activity,” and police pursued the black BMW for a short while before he abandoned the vehicle and fled on foot into a neighborhood about a half mile from Reed Elementary School, Johnson said. He said he did not have details about the suspected drug activity.
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Officers established a perimeter in the area between Hubbard, Linder, Deer Flat and Meridian roads, according to the sheriff’s office. The sheriff’s office sent out an emergency alert asking residents to stay inside if possible. Reed Elementary, 1670 N. Linder Road, was closed for the day, and the Kuna School District advised all students who lived within that perimeter to stay home.
Officers searched all vehicles leaving the area to make sure the suspect couldn’t sneak out via a resident’s vehicle. They also followed numerous leads, checking outbuildings, following footprints in the snow and knocking on doors, sheriff’s officials said.
At about 10:30 a.m., Kuna Police — an arm of the sheriff’s office — determined the suspect was inside a house in the 400 block of East Black Hawk Drive. The homeowner told police he didn’t know the man nor how he got into the house, sheriff’s officials said.
Officers evacuated people from nearby homes while members of the tactical team set up a perimeter. They saw the suspect, who was holding a handgun, walking around inside the house.
Sheriff’s officials said they tried to call the man on his cellphone but he did not answer.
At about 11 a.m. the garage door opened, and the suspect backed a car into the driveway. A Boise Police officer working with the tactical team drove an armored vehicle into the the car before it left the driveway, the sheriff’s office said.
Eight members of the tactical team then opened fire on the suspect, including:
▪ Ada County Sheriff’s Office deputies Jeremy Byington, Raul Garcia, Ron Santucci, Cory Feldman, and D.J. Rupert.
Byington has been with the sheriff’s office since 2004, Garcia since 2001, Santucci since 2002, Feldman since 2001, and Rupert since 2008.
▪ Boise Police officers Cpl. David Leavitt and Luis Gutierrez. Leavitt has been with Boise Police for 18 years, and Gutierrez for 11, after 7 years with the Ada County Sheriff’s Office.
▪ A 37-year-old Meridian Police officer, who has been with the department for 12 years. His name was not released.
Investigators took a second suspect into custody at a Meridian gas station between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m., sheriff’s spokesman Patrick Orr told the Statesman.
Stephanie Marie Prieto, 35, was booked into the Ada County Jail on a charge of resisting and obstructing officers.
Investigators believe the woman was in the car with the shooting suspect when he exchanged gunfire with police then fled the scene, Johnson told the Statesman. She headed toward Meridian on foot and was found later, “soaking wet,” possibly from exertion, he said.
Orr said investigators believe she started out on foot but then got a ride from someone to the Meridian gas station.
Evidence is being collected from the scene. Shell casings were found on Linder Road near the Wood Owl Drive intersection.
Investigators found a backpack they believe the suspect dropped in a backyard several hundred feet away from the East Black Hawk Drive home. Near the backpack, they found two handguns, bullets and a piece of metal.
Investigators looked into reports of a grenade at the scene, but they did not find one.