COEUR d'ALENE - A man suspected of shooting another man in the chest, as well as shooting at several random individuals Saturday was killed by police officers after the suspect opened fire on the officers following an estimated 5-mile car chase.
The pursuit ended on East Coeur d'Alene Lake Drive near Higgens Point shortly after 11 a.m. after the suspect lost control of a white sedan he was driving, spun out, and came to rest on the Centennial Trail, where officers fatally wounded him after a shootout.
The suspect, whose name was not released as of Saturday afternoon, pending positive identification as well as notification of next of kin, had reportedly shot another man around 11 a.m. at 12th Street and Lakeside Avenue before driving off and shooting at at least four pedestrians, including one man who was reportedly walking his dog, as he drove.
"When I looked out the white car was there," said neighbor Denise Anthony, who has lived at the corner of 11th Street and Lakeside Avenue for seven years, and heard the gun shots. "I saw a dude get out - all the doors were open - and I saw the shooter get out of the passenger side of the car, threw (a) black backpack out in the road, go around and shut all the doors and then get in the car and drive off."
"Then I saw two cop cars go flying by, chasing the white car," she said.
The shooting victim, whose name also wasn't available Saturday afternoon, was transported to Kootenai Health where he underwent surgery. An update of his condition wasn't available.
No officers or pedestrians were injured in the incident.
Law enforcement is processing "multiple scenes" involved in the shooting, the Kootenai County Sheriff's Office said in a statement.
"The suspect in the shooting fled the scene and continued firing randomly at other victims as he drove," it stated. "Investigators have identified four different scenes in the City of Coeur d'Alene where the suspect shot at citizens."
The suspect also shot at pursing officers as the chase turned on to East Coeur d'Alene Lake Drive, which dead-ends at the popular walking destination Higgens Point. The waterfront road is popular with bicyclists, runners and walkers because of the Centennial Trail which runs parallel the old highway.
"It is your worst nightmare, absolutely," said KCSO Maj. Ben Wolfinger, addressing the media near the scene of the fatal shootout about the gun fight and chase taking place in a popular pedestrian area on a cloudless Saturday with temperatures in the 70s. "It had all the makings for a terrible tragedy. Fortunately, it wasn't as bad as it could have been."
The road and nearby boat launch were closed for around four hours while investigators surveyed the scene. One police officer's car appeared to have a bullet hole in a side window. The suspect's vehicle had Idaho license plates. Idaho State Police will handle the investigation of the shooting that occurred inside city limits, while the sheriff's office will handle the shootout on East Coeur d'Alene Lake Drive, which is in Kootenai County.
It was unclear how many shots were fired from either side, and at what speeds the chase hit, Wolfinger said. The type of gun the suspect used was a handgun, he said.
After the shooting in the city, neighbors on Lakeside Avenue stood in their front yards trying to piece together what happened. Two blocks were roped off with yellow police tape. Some neighbors said that the shooter and victim where in the same car together at one point, and after the victim was shot, he fled the car for the apartment building on the corner of 12th Street and Lakeside Avenue. Investigators said they were unsure of the relationship between the reported shooter and victim, or any possible motive for the shooting spree.
Lakeside neighbors described hearing several shots fired in quick succession.
"We heard a couple of pops," said one neighbor, who didn't want his name used because he lived near the scene. "It sounded like someone shutting a garbage lid really hard."
Several neighbors, including Anthony, also said they spoke to a man who was shot at while walking his dog.
"I'm shocked," said Dan Sheldon, a Lakeside resident for around six years. "It's a safe neighborhood. I'm the loudest one and I'm not that loud. A lot of good, quiet neighbors."
A law enforcement officer talks on his phone while at the scene of a shooting Saturday at Lakeside Avenue and 12th Street in Coeur d'Alene. One person was shot in the chest and the suspect led police on a pursuit toward Higgens Point where he fired upon officers and was shot and killed.
Kootenai County Sheriff Maj. Ben Wolfinger discusses the cooperation between multiple law enforcement agencies and how the investigation will move forward from the scene were a shooting suspect was shot and killed by police after firing at officers who were pursing him on Coeur d'Alene Lake Drive near Higgens Point.