Boise Police Department
News Release

Michael F. Masterson
Chief of Police


Contact: Lynn Hightower
Communications Director
570-6180

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

061008 UPDATE: Village Lane Incident - Officers Fire on Suspect

061008 UPDATE: Village Lane Incident - Officers Fire on Suspect
    UPDATE: 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 five Ada County law enforcement agencies (Meridian Police, Garden City Police, Idaho State Police, Boise Police, and the Ada County Sheriff's Office) is conducting a thorough investigation of the incident focusing. CITF investigators worked through the weekend interviewing involved and witness officers, 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.

    "This was a sudden, unprovoked assault at point-blank range that left our officers no choice," said Chief Masterson.

    "Officers with the Special Operations unit are highly skilled, specially trained and equipped, and asked to respond to the most dangerous situations. Their training most often helps end these dangerous, stressful situations without use of firearms, but they're prepared and trained to protect themselves and others when threatened, and that's what they did here." said Chief Masterson.

    The events of Thursday afternoon's four-hour incident are lengthy and detailed. Many details have already been released. This release includes a photo of an item similar to the one held by the suspect, found to be a soldering gun.

    For video of the weapons used by the officers, and commonly used by Special Operations Units around the country, please log onto www.boisepolice.org, click on Video Files at the bottom of the left hand navigation bar, and scroll to the video titled: Special Operations Unit Student Orientation Video. There you'll see Boise Police SOU team members demonstrating and displaying the weapons to a class of students from Boise's Centennial High School.

    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 (note, much of what is new today is detailed as of 4:25 p.m.):

    - 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 eight-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 detected 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, a narrow corridor approx. four feet wide and 17 feet long. The officers 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 not brightly lit and officers believe the sagging plywood likely covers a crawl space.
    - As one officer slowly begins to lift the plywood, he unknowingly reveals where the suspect is 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. Both officers say they believed the object was a handgun.
    - 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 weapon 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 round selector", meaning the firearm is capable of firing three rounds with each squeeze of the trigger.
    - After investigating, CITF detectives believe one officer fired eight shots, one officer fired 12.
    - 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 immediately giving medical aid to the suspect. The suspect Willes remains hospitalized. Information given to officers is his injuries are very serious, but do not appear at this time to be life threatening.

    A soldering gun, similar to the one pictured here, is what the suspect held in his right hand as he lunged from underneath the plywood, aiming this at officers when officers fired:
    

 

    Currently, the CITF continues it's criminal investigation into this incident.

    Boise Police are conducting their own investigation of the officers actions during the incident. Boise Police conduct internal investigations every time an officer uses force in the field.

    The Boise City Ombudsman will also conduct an independent review of officers' actions during the incident.