Crime

Suspect in home break-ins shot by Caldwell police; witnesses say he yelled ‘kill me’

James Stell
James Stell

James P. Stell, a suspect in several home break-ins, reportedly was armed and refusing to comply with law enforcement orders, but investigators haven’t said whether he pointed his gun at police.

Stell, 24, of Parma, was treated at a local hospital and released Friday evening. He was then taken to the Ada County Jail on a probation violation while investigators look into possible charges stemming from Friday’s events, said Nampa Police Lt. Eric Skoglund. Nampa’s department is leading the Critical Incident Task Force for this investigation.

No officers were injured. It was one of three police shootings in the Treasure Valley between Thursday evening and Friday afternoon.

Caldwell Police Chief Frank Wyant said Friday morning that one of his officers opened fire, and a witness echoed that account. The officer’s name has not been released.

The shooting happened around noon. Caldwell police had been out in force in that neighborhood all morning, starting around 5:30, when a resident in the 600 block of West Hazel Street reported an attempted break-in at a neighbor’s house. Officers established a perimeter around the area they were searching, and Canyon County sheriff’s deputies came in to assist.

Hours later and one-third of a mile away from the West Hazel report, Stell walked into a home on the corner of Marshall Avenue and West Elm Street and was confronted by a man who told him to leave, and then alerted officers to his whereabouts, the 19-year-old’s mother said.

The intruder “told him to just keep quiet, but he said, ‘No, I’m going to get louder. Leave,’ ” Stephanie Baldwin said of her son, Kyle.

The intruder ducked back into the home’s garage. Kyle Baldwin secured the family’s dogs in a bedroom, then went outside with his girlfriend to alert police, his mother said.

“He did great,” Stephanie Baldwin said late Friday afternoon as she stood behind police tape on Marshall Avenue, waiting to be allowed back in her house.

On the Elm Street side of the shooting scene, residents of a U-shaped one-story apartment complex gathered across from another stretch of police tape, still trying to digest what they had seen and heard earlier in the day.

Early in the morning they were told that there was a man with a gun in the neighborhood and that they should stay inside. Later, as a SWAT team converged on the house across the street, things got intense. They watched as police threw the man a phone and tried to negotiate with him, Kimberly Freeman said.

“I did hear the guy scream a couple of times, ‘Why don’t you just (expletive) kill me?’ ” neighbor Christopher Ward said. “He wanted them to kill him, but they obviously weren’t going to do that.”

Neighbor Rose Palacios said she heard the man ask an officer, “Have you ever killed somebody, homie?”

Palacios said she saw one officer open fire. All of the witnesses said they heard five or six gunshots, but said Stell was behind the house’s garage and out of view.

Breeanna Ward captured the incident on video; police took her cellphone as evidence, she said.

Lt. Skoglund said Stell is also under investigation for other crimes, but he did not reveal any information about those allegations.

Online court records show that Stell was convicted of felony aggravated assault and use of a deadly weapon last year. Other 2015 convictions, all misdemeanors, include malicious injury to property, several violations of a protective order and carrying a concealed weapon while intoxicated.

Kristin Rodine: 208-377-6447

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