Ambush, standoff end with 3 dead in Idaho

Gunman killed officer, then holed up in church

May 21, 2007|By New York Times News Service

MOSCOW, Idaho -- A gunman went on a shooting rampage in this quiet college town late Saturday night, killing a police officer and wounding a sheriff's deputy and a civilian before taking refuge in a church.

Early yesterday, SWAT units stormed the church and found the bodies of the gunman and another man, who was believed to be the church caretaker.

Officials had not released the identity of the gunman or the injured civilian as of yesterday night. They said they did not know the gunman's motive.

Moscow is about 80 miles south of Spokane, Wash., and is home to 22,000 residents and the University of Idaho.

At a news conference yesterday, David Duke, the assistant chief of the Moscow Police Department, said the shootings began about 11:30 p.m. Saturday when someone opened fire on the Latah County Courthouse, which houses the sheriff's office.

The police said the shots may have been intended to draw people to the scene so the gunman could ambush them. Witnesses reported hearing dozens of shots.

"You could classify it as an ambush," Duke said. "All the information I have is that there was no return fire."

Three dispatchers and two deputies who were inside the sheriff's office escaped injury from the hail of bullets, which shattered windows and equipment and penetrated walls, Sheriff Wayne Rausch said.

Moscow police were notified at 11:31 p.m., and Officer Lee Newbill and another officer set off on foot for the courthouse from the police station about five blocks away.

Newbill, a six-year veteran of the police force, died after being shot several times about a block from the courthouse. A sheriff's deputy, Sgt. Brannon Jordan, was wounded when he went to Newbill's aid. The civilian, whom the police did not identify, was believed to be a nearby resident who approached the scene to offer help, the police said.

Jordan was reported in serious condition at the Moscow hospital with multiple gunshot wounds. The resident who was shot had undergone surgery and was in stable condition.

The Associated Press identified the second man found in the church as Paul Bauer, a caretaker believed to be in his 60s who lived at the church.

Duke said the police did not return fire during the barrage because the gunman's location was never established.

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