Idaho gunman kills 2, himself

Published May 21, 2007

MOSCOW, Idaho - A sniper sprayed dozens of bullets on a courthouse, killing a police officer and wounding a sheriff's deputy and a civilian, then apparently killed a caretaker and himself Sunday in a nearby church, police said.

Investigators believe the shooter deliberately fired into an emergency dispatch center inside the Latah County Courthouse late Saturday to lure people into the line of fire. The officer was killed as he rushed to the courthouse, and the deputy helped pull the officer out of the way before being shot, said David Duke, Moscow's assistant police chief.

Shortly after 6 a.m., three SWAT teams entered the First Presbyterian Church and found the bodies of the shooter and another man, Duke said. An assault rifle, ammunition and spent shells were found next to the gunman's corpse, he said.

The shooter died of what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, Duke said. The second man also died of gunshot wounds, Duke said. Authorities did not release either man's name.

Police said the gunman started shooting from a parking lot across from the courthouse shortly after 11 p.m. A hail of more than 30 bullets ripped through the county's dispatch center, Duke said.

"Whoever the shooter is wanted to draw people to the courthouse, " Duke said. "When officers responded, he did open fire on them."

Lee Newbill, the first officer at the scene, was hit around 11:35 p.m. Saturday, Duke said.

Deputy Brannon Jordon was shot shortly after midnight as he took cover behind a tree after pulling Newbill out of the line of fire, Duke said. Jordon was in serious condition with multiple gunshot wounds, the assistant chief said.

Authorities did not release the name of the injured civilian, but said he was undergoing surgery and was in stable condition.

Police had no information about the gunman's motive.

"He was just shooting at anybody he could, " Duke said.

None of the officers who responded returned fire, Duke said. Officers surrounded the church, which is across the street from the courthouse. A final shot was heard from inside the church about 1 a.m. Sunday, Duke said.