Brandon Hartley isn’t sure how Ramon Milanez got into his Kuna home Tuesday morning — and he didn’t lay eyes on the man police say fired eight to 10 shots at an officer overnight.
Hartley said his wife had called him around 5:30 a.m. to warn him that police were searching their neighborhood for the shooting suspect. He recalled letting his dog out the back door and sitting down to watch the TV news with his daughter. His rifle was close at hand, he noted.
“I can’t really tell you where he was,” said Hartley, whose family has lived in the two-story house for more than two years.
At the time, he didn’t think they were in any danger. But at about 10 a.m., police banged on his door and yelled at the family to get out. He and his two children, 10 and 8, took refuge next door at Sharla Sheets’ house.
“He was out to hide, I don’t think he was out to hurt them,” Sheets said of Milanez. “He could have taken them hostage.”
The two families watched as Milanez opened Hartley’s garage door and backed his wife’s Volkswagen CC into the driveway. They saw an armored vehicle ram the car.
Gunfire erupted not long after that.
Sheets, who watched the shooting and saw it again on a neighbor’s video recording, said Milanez fired first. She said the video shows him reloading his gun.
Hartley said tactical officers who were on the armored vehicle jumped off before it rammed the car, and they were standing in the street without any cover when Milanez began shooting.
Ada County sheriff’s officials have said that eight tactical officers from three different Treasure Valley police departments fired on Milanez, who was identified by the Ada County coroner Wednesday. Hartley and Sheets said a police dog was released into the car after the shooting.
Milanez, 32, was wanted on three warrants out of Canyon County: possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon.
A steady stream of cars drove past Hartley’s house Wednesday, slowing to gawk at the bullet-riddled garage door.
“You need help with anything? Are you the person who was home?” said one motorist who stopped momentarily in front of the house, where Hartley was sweeping up glass and debris. Sheets’ son, Bailey, who was helping Hartley clean up, found a clip from a stun grenade.
Sheets and Hartley said police threw some after the shooting.
Sheets said the people cruising their neighborhood are adding to the trauma that the Hartleys suffered. The couple’s children, shocked by the incident, aren’t staying at the house now.
“Twenty million people are driving down this road, just to look at bullet holes in a door,” she said. “It completely disrupts their privacy. They didn’t do anything.”
She asks that the public refrain from unnecessary trips through their neighborhood.
Sheets said she and other residents are taking extra care in securing their homes and yards.
“It was a very close neighborhood,” she said. “We didn’t make sure doors were always locked.”
Hartley said he has a lot of questions for police about the way they handled the incident. He was disappointed that glass and blood were not cleaned up. And he said he didn’t feel as though officials were sympathetic to his urgency at getting his wife’s car replaced.
A GoFundMe account has been set up to help the family with costs that may not be covered by insurance (It’s called “Emergency help for son’s family.”) Nearly $1,400 had been donated by 9 a.m. Thursday.
Milanez has many convictions in Ada County dating back to 1999, including resisting and obstructing officers, carrying a concealed weapon, malicious injury to property, burglary theft and false personation.
In 2005 he was sentenced to one to five years in prison for burglary, but the sentence was suspended and he was released on probation. He spent time in jail but not a day in prison.
The fatal shooting is being investigated by the Ada County Critical Incident Task Force, this time led by Idaho State Police.