Armed standoff ends peacefully

Man arrested, charged with two counts of shooting into an occupied residence, one count of aggravated assault

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Two females talk with Coeur d'Alene Police SWAT officers after exiting an apartment near another where an armed male was reported to be hiding Thursday at the Park Place Apartments.

Pursuit of a suspected shooter had law enforcement hunkered down at a Coeur d'Alene apartment complex from early morning through early afternoon on Thursday.

After Coeur d'Alene police and a multi-agency SWAT team had surrounded his residence for roughly seven hours, Zebulon R. Batke, 33, was detained with little fanfare at Park Place Apartments on Ramsey Road.

Police reported that the SWAT team breached Batke's apartment and found him asleep in his bedroom, where he had barricaded himself.

Taken into custody peacefully, the Coeur d'Alene man was arrested and charged with two counts of shooting into an occupied residence, a felony, and one count of aggravated assault, also a felony.

The charges relate to Batke allegedly firing a weapon several times into his ex-girlfriend's duplex in the 700 block of Third Street at 2:30 a.m. on Thursday.

No one was injured at the morning shooting. Sgt. Christie Wood said the residents were sleeping inside, but she didn't know how close the bullets came.

Batke was found fully armed on Thursday, with a fully loaded AK 47 assault rifle, a loaded 357 Mag and a single-shot shotgun, according to a police press release.

Batke has prior arrests for alcohol offenses, battery and mayhem.

Hours before the arrest, the police and SWAT team closed off the apartment complex entrances and evacuated several of the apartment buildings, while the Spokane County Air One helicopter circled overhead.

The ensuing hours were spent trying to get Batke to comply with lawful orders, police reported.

Those who were evacuated hovered close by, waiting for developments.

Apartment resident Bryan Smith, 17, said the SWAT team officers who came to his door told Smith and his mother that a gunman was in the apartment directly above them.

"They had to put their guns up when we ran out," Smith said.

Officers forbade them from taking their car out, he added, because it was in the suspect's direct line of fire.

Smith had only met the resident of the above apartment once, he said.

"I was learning to drive stick shift and I was blocking his car. He was a really nice guy," he said.

Miranda Ormesher said she looked out her window at 7:30 a.m. and saw a SWAT team officer with a gun facing her complex.

"They were getting everybody out," she said.

Officers wouldn't give her information as they ushered her out of the building, Ormesher said.

She didn't even have time to put on her shoes, she said.

"I was shaking, almost in tears," Ormesher said. "The helicopter circling above my home, even more makes you wonder what's going on."

Not allowed to re-enter the complex that morning, her nerves were still frayed before her boyfriend drove her to work.

"It's a little shocking," Ormesher said before the pair drove away. "I feel like I'm in a horror movie. Like I'm living in California."

Paul Yearsley said seeing an officer at his door Thursday morning was jarring for him and his mother, Ruth.

"They told us to evacuate. That's about it," Paul said. "I asked why, and they said, 'We've got problems.' Then there were 10 or 20 guys standing outside in the parking lot with guns."

Agencies that assisted in the incident included the Kootenai County Sheriff's Department, Post Falls Police, U.S. Forest Service, Coeur d'Alene Fire, Kootenai EMS, Spokane City Police, Spokane County Sheriff's Department, Spokane Valley Police, and FBI-North Idaho Violent Crimes Task Force.

This isn't the first crime scene at Park Place Apartments.

Bette Fears, then apartment complex manager, was shot and killed by a tenant in August 2007. The shooter, Evelyn Botto, then turned the gun on herself and committed suicide.

Tammie Clawson, another apartment resident who was waiting at a coffee stand during Thursday's standoff, said the pattern has him afraid.

"I'm feeling a little nervous that if this happens here, how many more times is it going to happen?" Clawson said. "I'll be locking my door day and night now."

Two officers hold a position on the roof adjacent to an apartment where a suspected gunman stands off police.

 

A Coeur d'Alene Police Department SWAT team member holds a perimeter Thursday near an apartment housing a suspected gunman at Park Place Apartments in Coeur d'Alene.

 

Armed with an automatic rifle, a Coeur d'Alene Police Department SWAT team officer circles around a garage in front of the apartment of an male believed to armed with a rifle.

 

Spokane County Sheriff's Department helicopter Air One circles the Park Place Apartments in Coeur d'Alene.

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