Suspect fires handgun at airport in Idaho, firefighters flee

A 911 caller said the suspect was attempting to steal a helicopter

Map, Shoshone County Airport
Map, Shoshone County Airport. Wildfire Today / Google Earth.

On Saturday July 17, wildland firefighters at the Shoshone County Airport in Smelterville, Idaho 30 miles southeast of Coeur d’Alene, encountered a dangerous situation that is not covered in the dozens of training courses they take.

From the Shoshone County Sheriff’s Office:

At approximately 5:52pm, Shoshone County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) dispatch received a 911 call reporting an armed subject approaching fire personnel in their helicopter at the Shoshone County Airport in Smelterville Idaho. A second 911 caller reported the subject was attempting to steal a helicopter.

At the airport during this incident, there were between 30 to 70 fire fighter personnel present on scene due to the local active fires.

At approximately 5:57pm, a SCSO Deputy arrived on scene and quickly located the armed suspect (Oregon resident). The suspect then discharged a handgun several times into the ground and air as fire fighter personnel were fleeing the immediate area. The SCSO Deputy ordered the suspect to drop the weapon, he complied soon after and was taken into custody with the assistance of a 2nd SCSO Deputy and an Idaho State Police Trooper without further incident. Several other SCSO units and other law enforcement agencies arrived shortly after.

For clarification, NO law enforcement officers discharged a firearm and no one was injured during this incident.

The investigation is ongoing and no further information will be released at this time.

End of Shoshone County Sheriff’s Office report.

In the video below, the narrator says he’s at the Kellogg, Idaho airport. Kellogg is immediately east of Smelterville.

Map, Shoshone County Airport
Vicinity map, Shoshone County Airport. Google Earth.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

2 thoughts on “Suspect fires handgun at airport in Idaho, firefighters flee”

  1. “Encountered a dangerous situation that is not covered in the dozens of training courses they take”

    Not to be snarky, but I’m pretty sure I was trained on what to do when a firearm was brandished. Lots of nusto hanging out in the forest with guns. It wasn’t an S-class for sure, but it was definitely standard FS-training.

  2. Flew into there in 1964. And into a gravel bar on the Coldwater R., but is appears to be no longer there.


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