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Man dead after hourslong standoff with Kuna police

By DANIELLE WILEY dwiley@idahopress.com ​ ​ ​

KUNA — A man involved in a six-hour long standoff with police on Tuesday morning died after a confrontation with the local SWAT team.

According to the Ada County Sheriff’s Office, the unidentified man shot at Kuna police officers, then fled during a traffic stop earlier that morning.

Capt. Scott Johnson, who was filling in for the Ada County sheriff, said the man was pulled over in Kuna because he was suspected of drug activity. Johnson said a second suspect, a woman, was also in the car at the time of the traffic stop.

The female suspect was detained by the Ada County Sheriff’s Office and is being held for questioning.

“She was located in Meridian,” Johnson said. “She was taken to our police headquarters.”

Police have not released the identities of the suspects.

Police initially stopped the man, who was driving a black BMW, about 4 a.m. Tuesday near Kay Avenue in Kuna for a traffic violation, Kuna Police Sgt. Tom Briggs said.

“In the course of the stop, the car decided to speed away,” Johnson said. “During the pursuit, the suspect fired shots at our deputy. The deputy backed off, and the car turned into a subdivision.”

The suspect’s abandoned vehicle was found on Wood Owl Drive in the Birds of Prey subdivision in Kuna.

“Police sealed the subdivision off,” Johnson said. “A short time later we located the vehicle. We immediately notified the Kuna school district.”

Traffic was blocked for over five hours while officers searched cars, houses, backyards and more. Officers advised people in those areas to stay inside and lock their doors.

The situation forced the closure of Reed Elementary School but did not affect other schools in the district.

“We finally located a house we believed the suspect was in,” Johnson said. “The suspect was seen in the house with a weapon in hand.”

Johnson said the suspect had broken into the house, and the homeowners called police to let them know. The Boise SWAT team and a bomb squad were brought to the scene, and negotiations began. The suspect left the house and attempted to steal the homeowner’s car from the garage, according to police.

Members of the Ada County Sheriff’s Office tactical team set up a perimeter around the home and then shot the man as he tried to escape in a stolen car, according to officials.

No officers or residents were injured during the standoff. Johnson said Idaho State Police has been contacted to investigate the shooting. Johnson said he is unsure whether the suspect was involved in any previous crimes. There was no information about any drug or drug paraphernalia in the suspect’s car.

SCHOOL SAFETY MEASURES

Kevin Gifford, the principal at Reed Elementary School, said he was worried for his students, family and his own safety during the day. In his 23-year career he has never faced a situation such as this.

“I live in the Chapparosa subdivision next door to the school,” Gifford said. “So I received the text about the code red alert around 5 or 6 a.m.”

Gifford said the Kuna school district was contacted by police right away, and he was able to shut down the school before any students arrived.

“We were in contact with school this morning at about 5 a.m.,” Johnson said.

Reed Elementary begins classes at 8 a.m., but many students arrive at 7:25 a.m. to eat a free breakfast. Gifford said school buses were en route to pick up students, but he believes no students were delivered to the school during the shut down.

School district spokesman David Reinhart said Kuna High School and other nearby schools were on alert but weren’t locked down.

“We gave them less time in between classes and were watched our perimeters,” Reinhart said.

Last month the school district met with the Ada County Sheriff’s Office to practice drills for an event such as this.

“We had a plan in preparation,” Reinhart said. “And the sheriff’s office performed it perfectly. We’ve never had a situation like this before, but we were able to contact staff and parents while keeping our children safe.”

During the media meeting at Reed Elementary, several nearby mothers listened to Johnson explain the incident and gave thanks to police officers.