For three members of the Ada Metro SWAT team, Tuesday’s fatal shooting of Ramon Milanez in a Kuna neighborhood was not the first time they had to fire at a suspect while on duty.
In each of their past cases, the shooting was ruled to be justified and in accordance with deadly force policies after an investigation by the county's multiagency Critical Incident Task Force and a prosecutor.
Ada County Sheriff’s Sgt. Ron Santucci has been named in three other shootings — in 2006, ’07 and ’13 — two of which were fatal. Deputy Jeremy Byington fired shots in a fatal Boise confrontation in 2006, and Deputy Corey Feldman wounded a man last February, according to records.
▪ October 2006: Santucci shot Jonathan DiPaola four times as the Meridian man walked toward officers with his hands moving near a handgun in his waistband, according to police reports. Officers were responding to a domestic violence report at the home of DiPaola’s ex-wife.
▪ November 2006: Six Boise police and Ada County sheriff’s officers, including Byington, shot Tyler Lowery eight times in a Boise Fred Meyer parking lot. Lowery had reportedly pointed a gun at his ex-mother-in law, and officers found him walking near Five Mile and Overland roads and tried to negotiate with him. According to police reports, he said he did not want to go back to prison and pointed his gun at officers.
▪ October 2007: Santucci and a Payette County deputy shot Sarah Stanfield eight times after a 40-minute high-speed chase down Interstate 84 from Boise to a spot near the Oregon state line. Police used spike strips to stop Stanfield’s vehicle, and when officers caught up to her on foot, they unsuccessfully tried to subdue her with a stun gun, an investigation found. She then turned and pointed a gun at Santucci, and witnesses said she fired at least one round.
▪ March 2013: A Boise officer and three Ada County deputies, including Santucci, shot Peter See eight times after he pointed a gun at them following a high-speed chase on Cloverdale Road. See, who was seriously injured but survived, was sentenced to eight years in prison.
▪ February 2016: Feldman shot Kenneth Morehouse once in the shoulder at a home near North Seamans Gulch Road. A relative reported that Morehouse was threatening to harm himself, and when Feldman responded, Morehouse pointed a gun at him, the Sheriff’s Office reported.
The other four officers who have been identified in the Kuna case — Deputies Raul Garcia and D.J. Rupert of the Sheriff’s Office, and Boise police officers David Leavitt and Luis Gutierrez — have not been named in previous shootings. A Meridian police officer also reportedly shot at Milanez, but that department has not released his name.
That newest incident also involved a man allegedly firing at law enforcement, according to neighbors who witnessed it.
The fatal confrontation on East Black Hawk Drive happened about 11 a.m. Tuesday, some seven hours after the chain of events began with a pursuit of Milanez’s black BMW in connection with a drug offense. Milanez fired numerous shots at his pursuers, the Sheriff’s Office said. Investigators found the car abandoned near Reed Elementary School and locked down neighborhoods in the area between Hubbard, Linder, Deer Flat and Meridian roads, painstakingly searching the area and every car that tried to leave.
At about 10:30 a.m., officers determined that the armed Nampa man was inside the Hartley family home on Black Hawk. They got the family — who had not encountered Milanez — out of the house and cleared people from nearby homes. About 30 minutes after the garage door opened, Milanez backed one of the family’s cars into the driveway. Police rammed the car to stop it and eventually opened fire. Milanez, 32, died of multiple gunshot wounds, according to the Ada County coroner.
Neighborhood witnesses told the Idaho Statesman that Milanez fired first in the confrontation.
With members of three Ada County agencies involved in this shooting, Idaho State Police are leading the investigating task force this time. ISP Capt. Bill Gardiner said he expects the investigation will take at least two months before their findings go to a prosecutor for a review. One time-consuming aspect of the investigation is getting “toxicology reports from all those involved,” he said.
Kristin Rodine: 208-377-6447