Two police officers hurt, 1 critical; suspect killed in Boise Bench shootout

Boise Police chief describes officer-involved shooting

Boise Police and a fugitive wanted in connection to a shooting in Meridian were involved in a shootout on Irving Street in Boise.
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Boise Police and a fugitive wanted in connection to a shooting in Meridian were involved in a shootout on Irving Street in Boise.

Two Boise police officers were hospitalized Friday at Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center, where the man who traded shots with them was declared dead on arrival, Boise Police Chief Bill Bones said Friday evening.

That man is believed to be Marco Romero, sought since Tuesday in connection with a shooting that injured two people in Meridian. Bones said final confirmation would have to be provided by the Ada County Coroner’s Office.

Boise and Meridian police searched neighborhoods north of Emerald Street and east of Orchard Street for the man for at least two hours before a shootout took place at Irving and Wilson streets.

A short pursuit led police to the area. Boise authorities brought in the special operations unit for the search, Bones said during a brief news conference outside Saint Al’s.

“They began to do a yard-by-yard, house-by-house search looking for the suspect. Working together with a canine while doing that search, they did locate the suspect,” he said.

According to Bones, the man fired at police, hitting both officers and also the police dog. Bones did not specify how the suspect was shot, or whether other officers were involved.

He indicated that both officers were taken to the hospital in a police vehicle; the dog was transported to WestVet in Garden City, where he underwent successful surgery.

“One of those officers is in the ER, our second officer is in surgery,” Bones said around 5:30 p.m.

By late Friday, Boise police reported that one officer was in critical but stable condition, and the other was in fair condition. The officers have not been named.

The police dog, Jardo, a Belgian Malinois, joined the department in 2013. He is trained to track and apprehend dangerous criminals, according to a department bio.

Jardo underwent surgery at WestVet, and police reported that the veterinarian who performed that surgery “is hopeful he will be OK.”

Garden City police will be the lead agency investigating the shooting as part of a Critical Incident Task Force.

Two police officers were taken to the hospital after a shootout Friday on the Boise Bench. The suspect is believed to be Marco Romero, who was being sought in connection with a Tuesday shooting in Meridian that injured two people.

Treasure Valley law enforcement agencies had been searching for Romero, 33, since Tuesday.

A recent parolee, he might have been the man who stole a Mercury Sable from an 89-year-old woman on Thursday at a retirement community in Meridian.

Boise police say they began searching the neighborhoods north of Emerald and east of Orchard at about 1 p.m. Meridian police also joined the effort. During the search, police communicated with area residents through a reverse 911 system, sending two messages — one warning of the search and asking residents to stay inside, and the other telling them the threat to their safety had passed. (Not signed up for that system? You can do so here.)

Those reached people such as Fern Rehl, a 21-year resident of Irving Street, who said she was watching TV when police descended on the neighborhood and her phone rang.

The city’s calls didn’t reach everyone, though — several residents told the Statesman that they hadn’t heard what was happening.

Ebony Jorgansen, who lives near Wilson and Gage streets, said a police officer used her garbage can to set up crime scene tape to block access on Wilson. When she popped out the door to talk to her, the officer advised her to stay inside her house.

The shootout happened at about 3:25 p.m. Resident Jeff Sele said he was talking with someone on the street when shots rang out.

“I heard guns and shotguns, it sounded like to me. You can definitely tell the difference between a gun and shotgun blast,” he said. “It happened real fast... It was 10 to 12 shots, and then it was done.”

Sele has lived on Irving for 25 years and has been home recovering from back surgery. “It’s usually a pretty quiet neighborhood,” he said.

Jake Chappele, another Irving resident, said he was just getting home from school with his three kids. He ushered them inside the house when the gunfire broke out.

He thought he heard 15 to 20 shots, he said: “At least 10.”

It was the third police shooting in the Treasure Valley in 24 hours. Ada County sheriff’s deputies shot a 72-year-old Melba man Thursday night after a chase leading from Canyon County to southern Ada County. Caldwell police on Friday shot 24-year-old James Stell, of Parma, suspected of attempting to break into a couple of homes.

Only one Boise police officer has been killed in the line of duty. Officer Mark Stall was shot and killed on Sept. 20, 1997, during a traffic stop.

Idaho law enforcement officers have fatally shot five other people this year.

Last year, Idaho police shot and killed seven people, tying the 2007 record.

Boise police responded to a report of a “recovered stolen vehicle” Friday, according to Ada County dispatch in the area of Irving and Manville streets of Boise. Authorities have gathered in the area amid a search for a suspect involved in a previo

Idaho officer-involved fatal shootings this year:

▪ Sept. 26, 2016: Two Boise officers and two Garden City officers approached Anthony Ray Bauer, who pointed a firearm at the officers, according to the police departments. All four officers fired shots, and Bauer drove into the building, they said.

▪ Aug. 2, 2016: Matthew Conrad, a 34-year-old Hammett man, was shot and killed by Elmore County deputies on Interstate 84 after he pointed a firearm at motorists and at them, they said.

▪ June 14, 2016: A Boise police officer shot Noel Rodriguez, a Caldwell man released on parole in February, after he reportedly rammed police vehicles in a West Boise neighborhood.

▪ April 28, 2016: Two Ada County Sheriff’s Office deputies shot Lee Easter in his southwest Boise home after they said he aimed a handgun at the deputies. An investigation is pending.

▪ March 18, 2016: A Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office deputy shot David Giles at an Idaho Falls hospital after Giles grabbed the deputy’s shotgun. An investigation deemed the shooting justified.

Cynthia Sewell: 208-377-6428, @CynthiaSewell

Katy Moeller: 208-377-6413, @KatyMoeller