Boise & Garden City

Boise police: ‘No public safety threat’ due to investigation at Broadway strip mall

A man who barricaded himself inside a Verizon Wireless store Friday morning was removed by police — with the help of a K-9 dog — and taken away in an ambulance. Police say he faces charges in the bizarre incident, which shut down three businesses for more than two hours and drew a crowd of spectators in the Jacksons parking lot.

The Verizon outlet at 1017 Broadway Ave. was cordoned off with yellow crime scene tape while police investigated.

According to police and witnesses, a man walked into the Verizon store and shut himself inside of a back room at around 10:55 a.m. Witnesses said the man was white, had tattoos and looked to be in his 30s or 40s.

A customer in the Verizon store, Stephanie Mishler of Kuna, said she was with a friend shopping for a new phone when the man came in, shirtless and staggering. When employees asked him to leave, she said, the man said to leave him alone and asked if there was a back door. He then went into a back room and held the door shut. Mishler said she and the others could hear crashing noises, like he was knocking things over.

Mishler, who has a concealed weapons permit, said she took her Kel-Tec P-32 pistol out of her purse and held it at her side during the altercation.

At about 12:50 p.m., Boise police announced on Twitter that they did not believe the man was a threat to public safety, but that they had asked people in the strip mall housing the Verizon store to leave while they attempted to contact him. Other businesses affected included a U-Swirl Frozen Yogurt and The Pita Pit.

Police cars surrounded the whole building and officers could be seen walking on the roof. At one point, a rumor spread that the man had climbed into the ceiling, but the building owner told the Statesman that that wasn’t likely due to the type of ceiling in the strip mall.

The man was taken from the scene at about 1:10 p.m., face-down in a gurney.

At one point, the man was bitten by the police K-9, Boise Lt. Matt Jones said. Police also tried to use a stun gun on the man, but missed.

Jones said police found extensive damage in the Verizon store, appearing as though the man tried to break into the ceiling and through the walls of the room.

KIVI Channel 6 reporter Lauren Johnson spoke with a witness who said the shirtless man was begging for help in a neighborhood nearby, citing a possible drug overdose, before he entered the Verizon store.