060708 UPDATE: Officers Shots Fired on Village Lane
Boise, June 10, 2008 - Boise Police, thanks to updates provided by the Ada County Critical Incident Task Force, have further information available for public release regarding the incident on Village Lane Thursday, June 5th, 2008, that resulted in two Boise Police officers, members of the highly trained, specialized Special Operations Unit, firing on a criminal suspect.
The CITF, made up of investigators from all 5 Ada County law enforcement agencies (Meridian Police, Garden City Police, Idaho State Police, Boise Police, and the Ada County Sheriff's Office) is in the midst of a thorough investigation of the incident focusing on potential criminal violations. CITF investigators worked through the weekend interviewing involved and witness officers, many other citizens who may have relevant information, as well as gathering physical evidence, etc. Boise Police Chief Michael Masterson along with other Boise PD commanders received a briefing from CITF investigators Monday afternoon.
The events of Thursday afternoon's four-hour incident are lengthy and detailed. Chief Masterson believes the following information confirmed and/or revealed at the latest briefing, should be made available for public release as a fairly detailed description of what happened:
- Incident began Thursday late morning with a call from a citizen to a Boise Police Neighborhood Contact Officer with information about possible drug activity at an apartment in a large complex on the 600 blk of Village Lane.
- 12:30 p.m. - When officers arrived at the address on Village Lane, witnesses identified the driver of a motorcycle just preparing to leave the parking lot as being a frequent visitor to the apartment where the drug activity was allegedly occurring. Officers approached the man, found him to have outstanding warrants for his arrest and to be driving without privileges. The man, identified as Tim P. Phillips, 43, of Payette was arrested.
- During the arrest, officers attention was diverted to a Chevy Suburban that suddenly began driving in reverse at an excessive, unsafe speed speed then stop. Witnesses tell the officers the driver ran into a nearby apartment, the same apartment that was the focus of the drug investigation.
- Officers go to the door and speak to a woman who answers. While talking, the officers hear strange banging noises from inside the apartment. The woman eventually allows officers inside, where they find a large hole, large enough for a person to climb through, knocked into the ceiling of a closet. Officers learn from apartment maintenance workers that once through the ceiling, a person would have access to other apartments in the ___-unit complex.
- Officers then backed outside, secured the entire building, and began evacuating other residents. Officers can hear and see where the suspect is breaking into an adjacent apartment.
- Through witnesses, Officers learn the identity of the suspect who broke through the ceiling. He is a known drug user with a lengthy criminal history and a pending sentencing for federal firearms violations.
- Because of the suspect's criminal history, and his current activity which is considered dangerous to the public, Boise Police supervisors make the decision to keep the building secure and call out the Boise Police Special Operations Team. The Special Operations Team is specifically trained and equipped to apprehend armed subjects.
- 3:15 p.m. - SOU officers arrive at the apartment building and begin a methodical search of the building, calling to the suspect to surrender. The team brings in a police K9 team to assist is the search for the suspect.
- During the search officers find several holes kicked throughout the apartment building apparently by the suspect, eventually leading officers across the entire length of the building.
- approx 4:25 p.m. - Officers find a hole in apartment 602 that leads to the basement. The K9 is sent down the stairs. The K9 alerts officers that he has tracked the suspect to this area. The K9 is sent to the area again, with the same results.
- Officers yell to the suspect again to surrender. They hear the suspect yell back. According to the officers, the suspect yelled to them "I've got a gun and I'm going to (expletive) use it."
- Officers, although hearing the suspects voice, are unsure where the suspect is hiding. Three officers enter the basement space see sheets of plywood covering the floor of the basement space and notice an area where the plywood appears to sag.
- The basement area is dimly lit and officers believe the sagging plywood likely covers a crawl space.
- As one officer slowly begins to lift the plywood, the officers say the suspect then forcefully pushes the plywood sheet up, revealing where he was hiding. The suspect is also lifting himself up and lunging forward, extending his right arm toward two of the officers pointing an object in their direction.
- The suspect is approx. three feet from the two officers.
- Both officers are surprised by the suspect. Both have heard the suspect yell that he had a weapon. Both officers tell investigators they believed the suspect was pointing a weapon at them. Both officers fired.
- Both officers, Norman Carter and Jason Bruner are veteran members of the Boise Police Special Operation Team. Officer Carter is an eleven year veteran of the Boise Police Department. Officer Bruner is a ten-year veteran of Boise Police.
- Both officers were carrying a weapons that is standard issue for special weapons teams nationwide, an MP5. An MP5 is a shoulder fired weapon that fires a pistol bullet. Both officers had their weapons set to, what's called the "3 burst selector", meaning the firearm is capable of firing a burst of three bullets with each squeeze of the trigger.
- After investigating, CITF detectives believe one officer fired eight bullets, one officer fired 12. It is possible to finesse the trigger on an MP5 and fire fewer than 3 bullets in a single shot.
- The suspect, identified as Dorian Michael Willes, 30, of Boise, was hit multiple times. A Tactical Medical team of Ada County Paramedics, who are sent out every time the BPD SOU team is called, was staged nearby and on scene within seconds, giving medical aid to the suspect. The suspect Willes remains hospitalized. Information given to officers is his injuries are very serious and possibly life changing but do not appear to be life threatening.
Boise, June 7, 2008, 8:15 p.m. - Ada County Prosecutors filed felony charges today against the suspect who burrowed his way through several apartments on Village Lane Thursday night, leading police on a prolonged search, that ended with officers firing their weapons at the suspect as he was found hiding in a basement storage building.
When officers found the suspect, he was pointing, what officers say they thought a firearm at them. Two officers, veteran members of the Boise Police Special Operations team fired at them. The latest from investigators is the exact number of shots fired is still under investigation. Investigators can say from evidence that the two officers fired multiple times, seriously injuring the suspect.
The Suspect: Dorian Michael Willes, 30, Boise
Charge: Felony Malicious Injury to Property. More charges are likely pending.
The felony charges are a response to the damage done to the apartment complex allegedly by the suspect as he tried to escape from police.
The suspect remains hospitalized.
As indicated in previous news releases, he received multiple gun shot wounds when officers found him hiding beneath a pile of lumber in a basement storage space.
For media: Please note in the BPD media guide, until prosecutors file charges in cases like this, the name of the suspect is not available for public release.
Boise, June 6, 2008 -
Motorcyclist who was taken into custody outside the Village Lane apartment yesterday:
Suspect: Tim P. Phillips, 43, Payette
Driving Without Privileges, Outstanding warrants
Boise, June 6, 2008 - The CITF Investigation into the officer involved shooting on Village Lane continues.
Crime Scene/Neighborhood: Currently crime scene investigators continue to scour the scene, tracking evidence. The crime scene takes in an entire apartment building, so the scene investigation is extensive. Investigators wore special suits due to insulation in the attic.
Investigators would like to thank neighbors in the complex for being alert and reporting possible drug activity in the area.
Suspect Update: The suspect in this case remain hospitalized with injuries that do appear serious. The suspect's name has not yet been released. Investigators say charges are pending. When charges are filed, the suspect's name will be released.
Investigation: At this time it looks like the essential elements of what happened have not changed from the information released last night. Please refer to the release posted at www.boisepolice.org for details.
Officers Involved: The involved officers, two veteran officers, members of the Boise Police Special Operations Team, have been given three paid days off, which is standard in these types of circumstances. Officers are given the time to spend with family. The department also offers them any services, including counseling.
Ten officers were also in the immediate area, either witnessing the incident or in close proximity. Those officers were also given today off to spend with family. Witness officers are also offered counseling or other services the officers and their families may need after an incident of this type.
Boise, June 5, 2008, 9:15 p.m. - Investigators have given the OK to release the following...
The suspect's name has not been released because he has not yet been charged.
The suspect, when found by officers, was holding and pointing a soldering gun, similar to the one pictured below (not a soldering iron).
Boise, June 5, 2008, 7:45 p.m. - Boise Police and the Ada County Critical Incident Task Force are investigating a shooting that involved officers of the highly trained Boise Police Special Operations Unit, and a man who initially caught officers attention by driving dangerously through an apartment complex. The man then ran into an apartment that was the focus of a drug investigation and began breaking through several walls entering other residences. During the prolonged search, officers repeatedly yelled to the suspect they had a K9. According to officers, the suspect responded yelling he had a gun. Finally, with the assistance of the police K9, officers located the suspect lying under a pile of wood in the apartment building basement. Officers say when they lifted the wood, the suspect laying there pointed an object at them that officers believed to be a weapon.
"Right now, it appears the officers felt threatened by the actions of the suspect and fired their weapons." said Boise Police Deputy Chief Jim Kerns. "We're beginning, what will be a thorough, complete investigation into this situation and what prompted it."
- Two officers fired multiple shots.
- Both officers are veteran members of the Boise Police Special Operation Unit.
- The suspect remains hospitalized with what appears to be multiple gunshot wounds.
- The suspects injuries appears serious although, at this time, the information being given to officers is the injuries do not appear life threatening.
"This suspects went to extremes breaking into several residents to get away from police," said Deputy Chief Kerns. "Officers felt he placed the residents here in equally extreme danger during this bizarre incident"
"This is the first shooting involving officers of the specially trained SOU unit. Typically these officers are prepared for the worst, but the cases, because of their training, ressolve themselves without shots fired by officers. Today, it appears, officers felt forced to shoot."
What Happened: At approx 12:30, three neighborhood contact officers following up on a potential drug investigation, responded to an apartment building on the 600 blk. of Village Lane. As they were approaching the apartment, the officers saw a motorcycle leaving the area. The driver was identified as possibly being involved in the suspected drug activity. Officers stopped the motorcycle driver, eventually arresting him for an outstanding warrant.
During the traffic stop, officers attention was diverted by the driver of a maroon Suburban that was scretching down Village Lane in reverse. Officers saw the Suburban stop and the driver run. A witness pointed officers in the direction of the apartment saying the driver had run inside.
Officers knocked on the door, a woman answered. While talking to the woman, officers say they could hear strange noises inside the apartment, noises that sounded like someone trying to break through the wall into another apartment.
At that point, officers were allowed inside the apartment where they saw a large hole in the ceiliing of the apartment. Officers then backed outside, secured the entire building, and began evacuating other residents.
Officers learned the suspect who was apparently trying to flee was a known drug user with a lengthy criminal history. Officers could hear and see where the suspect had broken into an adjacent apartment.
Officers called supervisors, who considered the suspect's erratic behavior and previous criminal history, combined with his breaking into other apartments, decided to keep the building secure and call out the Boise Police Special Operations Team.
SOU officers began arriving at the apartment at approx. 3;15 p.m. They began a methodical search of the apartment building, calling to the suspect to surrender, and warning the suspect a K9 was assisting in the search. The suspect responded by yelling back at officers that he was armed with a gun.
Officers say the K9 finally alerted on a pile of lumber in a basement storage area. The officers believed the pile of lumber covered a crawl space. When the officers lifted up the lumber, they found the suspect laying underneath the lumber pointing something in the direction of the officers. The officers, believing the suspect was pointing a weapon their way, fired multiple shots.
A Tactical Medical team, who was staged just across the street, immediately were called to give aide to the suspect. He was then transported to a nearby hospital where he remains at this hour in police custody.
Investigation: All officer involved shootings are investigated by the Ada County Critical Incident Task Force. The Meridian Police department will lead this investigation. Boise Police will also conduct a separate investigation into policy and procedure. The Boise City Ombudsman will also conduct an investigation into department policy and procedure.