Less than 24 hours after two of his officers were wounded in a Boise Bench shootout that claimed the life of a suspect, Boise Police Chief Bill Bones addressed the media Saturday afternoon to deliver news both good and sad.
Special Operations Unit Cpl. Chris Davis, shot once, “was released about an hour ago” from the hospital and received a police escort home, Bones said. He is expected to make a quick and full recovery, the chief said.
The second officer, also a longtime member of the SWAT-type unit, suffered multiple gunshot wounds, was severely injured and faces a recovery period of “months, not days or weeks,” Bones said. The officer was in surgery again Saturday after being in critical but stable condition Friday night.
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The name of that officer, a 17-year veteran of the Boise Police Department, will not be released until after his Boise Police Department colleagues have a chance to talk to him, the chief said.
Saturday evening, the local Fraternal Order of Police announced it was accepting donations to help the more seriously injured officer, saying his name was being withheld because not all family members had been notified of his injuries yet. A GoFundMe account had already reached $7,600 and climbing. Donations can also be made to the Fraternal Order of Police — Treasure Valley Lodge #11 Benevolent Fund at any Mountain West Bank, or can be mailed to P.O. Box 642, Meridian, ID 83680.
“There’s not a tougher man that I know,” Bones said, and he has “all the confidence in the world” the officer will recover.
That officer was not among those who shot at the suspect, Bones said, but 16-year veteran Davis was. The others, whose names were released later Saturday afternoon, were Detective Brian Holland, 13 years with Boise police; Cpl. Norman Carter, 20 years with BPD; and Sgt. Loren Hilliard, 13 years with the force. All are members of the Special Operations Unit, police said.
The Ada County Coroner’s Office has not issued a confirmation on the suspect’s identity, but police say they believe the shooter of the officers, now dead, was Marco Romero, a recent parolee suspected in a double shooting and a carjacking in Meridian earlier this week.
Jardo, the Boise police dog wounded in the altercation, was shot through the chest and lost a lung, Bones said. Boise police tweeted photos Saturday of Jardo taking his first walk since having surgery Friday. He was released from the veterinary hospital Saturday, but it is unknown whether the dog will be able to return to police duty, the chief said.
Bones did not discuss the details of the investigation into the shooting, which is being handled by the Critical Incident Task Force, with Garden City police as the lead agency. Garden City Police Chief Rick Allen could not be be reached Friday or Saturday to discuss the investigation.
Natalie Camacho Mendoza, director of Boise’s Office of Police Oversight, said she was out of town when the officer-involved shooting happened but dispatched investigators to the hospital and the shooting scene as soon as she was notified of the incident Friday. She then flew back to Boise to meet with her team and open an investigation.
“As is our practice, we perform an initial investigation and will wait to receive the investigation of the Critical Incident Task Force to begin our full and thorough investigation,” Mendoza said Saturday.
Outpouring of support
Boise police have been showered by community support since the shooting, from cards and letters to brownies delivered to the police station, Bones said.
“I can’t walk down the street” without being approached by well-wishers, he said. “And it’s not because I’m chief, it’s because of the uniform.”
Boise Mayor Dave Bieter Saturday issued a statement of support and concern for police and the officer in critical condition. He also noted, “I’m sure the family of the suspect involved is also distraught and struggling with how he became involved in a situation with such a horrible outcome.”
Cpl. Davis, now recovering from his injuries at home, was awarded the Idaho Law Enforcement, Firefighting and EMS Medal of Honor for his actions evacuating Boise residents while flames from the August 2008 Oregon Trail Fire closed in, melting the shirt on his back.
Police got a citizen tip at 12:45 p.m. Friday that someone thought to be Romero was spotted in the car that had been reported carjacked, and a second report came in a short time later. Officers searched for the vehicle in the neighborhood north of Orchard Street and Overland Road, with citizens pointing them in the right direction, Boise police said in a news release.
Officers later spotted the suspect walking down the street, but he took off running through the neighborhood, police said. Officers secured the area of Irving Street near Roosevelt and Wilson, and the Special Operations Unit came in to search the area, police said.
Shots rang out when police encountered the suspect, who had been hiding, police said. Neighbors reported hearing 10 or more shots.
The man believed to be Romero was reported dead a short time later, and the Boise officers and police dog were rushed for medical care.
Update on other shootings
After an apparently unprecedented three officer-involved shootings within 21 hours, Critical Incident Task Forces in Ada and Canyon counties have their hands full.
The Boise department is the lead agency in the investigation into a Thursday evening incident in which three Ada County sheriff’s deputies fired at a 72-year-old Melba man after a traffic stop near Swan Falls Road and West Victory Lane. The man reportedly pointed a gun at the officers. The man’s injuries were not life-threatening. No further information on the incident was released Saturday.
No new information is expected to be released until Monday on the Caldwell shooting that took place Friday. In that incident, police shot a 24-year-old man suspected of breaking into two homes in a southwest Caldwell neighborhood, Nampa Lt. Eric Skoglund said Saturday. The Nampa Police Department is leading the investigation into the shooting of James Stell, of Parma.
Stell was treated at a local hospital for his injuries, then released and transferred to the Ada County Jail on a probation violation charge while investigators determine what other charges he might face.