Three people are dead after a house in south Meridian burned Wednesday night while an armed home invasion took place.
One victim, an elderly female resident, could not escape the house, Ada County Sheriff Stephen Bartlett said Thursday afternoon. Another resident was taken to the University of Utah Burn Center, where he died. The third resident of the house was safely evacuated, authorities said.
A third body was found in the residence. Identification will come from the Ada County coroner, but there is strong evidence that the third body as that of the home invasion suspect, officials said Thursday night. Bartlett had said earlier that there was no active search for the suspect.
“We were able to find the remains of another person inside the home at the location where we engaged in a gun battle with this individual,” Bartlett said.
The identities of the elderly woman, the other two residents and the suspect were not disclosed. Authorities late Thursday night identified Kuna Police Officer Sage Hickam and Ada County Sheriff’s Deputy Chris Matkin as the members of law enforcement who fired their weapons at the suspect after a confrontation. Neither officer was harmed.
According to the Sheriff’s Office, the report of a man inside the house in the 1500 block of West Amity Road came at about 10:30 p.m. Wednesday. Deputies arrived and saw the suspect had a gun as he was banging on the door of the home, Bartlett said.
Deputies engaged the suspect and multiple gunshots were fired, Bartlett said, and the suspect then entered the home.
Soon after, the house caught fire and was fully in flames by 10:45 p.m. Though the cause of the fire is unknown at this time, “a significant amount of gasoline” was found at the scene, Bartlett said.
First responders pulled two of the residents out of the burning house but the third died in the fire.
Authorities do not believe the residents of the home had any connection with the suspect.
The investigation has been turned over to the Ada County Critical Incident Task Force, led by the Boise Police Department.
An autopsy will be performed on the two recovered bodies Friday, the Ada County Coroner said in a release. The Coroner’s Office will attempt to make positive identification after the autopsy using dental records.