Gunman shoots off-duty LEO twice at home in ambush attack

The suspect shot and wounded an off-duty Nez Perce Tribal Police officer Wednesday before being killed in a shootout


By Tom Holm
Lewiston Tribune, Idaho

LEWISTON, Idaho — Dianna Carpenter heard glass shattering outside her office and she dropped to the ground thinking it was a gunshot.

Before she called 911 from her business, Carpenter Fencing, she was chastising herself thinking it was probably just a broom that fell over. Carpenter punched in the three numbers all the while second-guessing herself from her position on the floor. Then sirens began wailing.

Carpenter said she was crying, and dispatchers told her to stay on the ground until the whine of police sirens faded.

Holes were shot through a wall, a window, a fence post and a pole at the business in the 400 block of Thain Road, as well as two parked pickup trucks hit by stray rounds.

A day later, Carpenter is wondering how no one else was hurt. Investigators Thursday continued to piece together the chaotic trail from a man, identified as Daniel “Danny” T. Cook Jr., who shot and wounded an off-duty Nez Perce Tribal Police officer Wednesday before being killed in a shootout with Lewiston police.

Carpenter said she often sees schoolchildren dropping by nearby A and B Foods before heading home and any of them could have been shot. One of the rounds went through the front display window of of her business where customers often first enter.

“I’m so lucky I didn’t have anybody here … they would have been right in the line of fire,” she said.

The ferocity of the event began after 36-year-old Cook drove up to tribal officer Josh Rigney’s home and shot him twice. From there Cook led police on a chase, firing wildly from his vehicle.

The chase continued along Burrell Avenue, reportedly passing by the Boys and Girls Club of the Lewis-Clark Valley. Club Executive Director Jon Evans said once staff heard gunshots children were ushered indoors and the building was put on lockdown. The building remained on lockdown for about 15 minutes until police informed him the threat was neutralized. A Lewiston School District employee said none of the schools in the district went on lockdown because the shootings occurred after school let out.

While officers chased down Cook, Rigney was taken to St. Joseph Regional Medical Center after his wife called 911. He was listed in fair condition Thursday.

A neighbor recalled hearing the havoc begin Wednesday afternoon on the 3500 block of 11th Street where Cook shot Rigney. Rigney’s neighbor said Cook was looking in her windows, and when she confronted him he asked where the “tribal cop” lived. A patrol car with tribal police decals was parked in front of where Rigney was shot. Several neighbors told the Tribune they heard or saw the shooting at both the 11th Street and Nez Perce County Fairgrounds locations. But several didn’t want to relive witnessing the traumatic incident and declined to be interviewed.

Cook fired at officers on the 3300 block of Eighth Street, at Eighth Street and Bryden Avenue, and on the 1100 block of Burrell Avenue, according to an Idaho State Police news release.

The chase ended in front of the Nez Perce County Fairgrounds where Cook continued to fire at officers. Four Lewiston officers returned fire and Cook was shot multiple times. He was taken to the hospital, where he later died.

No Lewiston officers were injured, and the four officers involved in the shooting have been placed on paid leave while the investigation continues. The names of the officers have not been released.

ISP spokesman Tim Marsano said the investigation is in the early stages and could take anywhere from a few weeks to two months to complete. Marsano said he didn’t know what type of gun or guns Cook used or how many shots were fired.

An attempt to locate order had been transmitted Wednesday morning over police radio. Dispatchers noted Cook had recently been hospitalized on a mental hold but had left against doctor’s wishes and made threats to law enforcement.

Cook was prohibited from owning a firearm and had a number of criminal convictions, many involving violence.

He was convicted in October 2016 of unlawful possession of a firearm and sentenced to one to two years in prison; charges of aggravated battery and domestic battery were dismissed as part of a plea agreement. He was released from prison in August. Cook was convicted of felony burglary in March 2005 and sentenced to six years of probation but violated the terms and was placed in a minimum security prison program, also called a rider. He had previous misdemeanor convictions for theft, battery and several juvenile alcohol and tobacco violations.

A Nez Perce Tribe news release said Rigney is a father of three and a second generation police officer. His grandfather worked for the Lewiston Police Department, according to past Tribune articles. Rigney has been with the tribal police for a little more than a year.

An account at Lewis Clark Credit Union has been established for anyone wanting to donate to Rigney or his family for recovery efforts. Tribe spokeswoman Kayeloni Scott said counselors are being made available to Rigney and any tribal officers who want to talk about the incident.

The District 2 Critical Incident Task Force, comprised of Latah County Sheriff’s Office, Moscow police, FBI and ISP, are jointly investigating the shootings.

Marsano said once the investigation is complete, the Nez Perce County Prosecutor’s Office will review and determine if any action should be taken against the officers or if the shooting was a justified use of force.

©2019 the Lewiston Tribune (Lewiston, Idaho)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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