Armed suspect apprehended at Idaho firefighting helibase

Avatar for Vertical MagBy Vertical Mag | July 19, 2021

Estimated reading time 2 minutes, 52 seconds.

An armed suspect was apprehended at a firefighting helibase in Smelterville, Idaho, on Saturday, according to the Shoshone County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO).

In a statement posted to its Facebook page, the SCSO said it received two 911 calls shortly before 6 p.m. local time on July 17. One caller reported an armed subject approaching firefighting personnel in their helicopter at the Shoshone County Airport, while a second caller reported that the subject was attempting to steal a helicopter.

The SCSO said one of its deputies arrived on scene at approximately 5:57 p.m. and quickly located the armed suspect, who was identified only as an Oregon resident. “The suspect then discharged a handgun several times into the ground and air as firefighter personnel were fleeing the immediate area,” the statement reads.

The SCSO deputy reportedly ordered the suspect to drop the weapon; he complied and was taken into custody with the assistance of a second SCSO deputy and an Idaho State Police Trooper “without further incident.” Several other SCSO units and other law enforcement agencies also responded to the scene.

The SCSO stressed that no law enforcement officers discharged a firearm and no one was injured during the apprehension, adding that “the investigation is ongoing and no further information will be released at this time.”

The agency said that at the time of the incident, there were “between 30 to 70 firefighter personnel present on scene due to the local active fires,” including the Character Complex northeast of the airport.

When asked about the incident, a spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service referred Vertical to the fire information office for the Character Complex fire, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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