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Idaho deputy dies after being shot during traffic stop

Deputy Tobin Bolter, 27, who joined the Ada County Sheriff’s Office in January, had been in law enforcement for seven years

Ada County Deputy Bolter.png

Ada County Sheriff’s Deputy Tobin Bolter

Photo/Ada County Sheriff’s Office

By Sally Krutzig
The Idaho Statesman

ADA COUNTY, Idaho — Ada County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Tobin Bolter, 27, died after he was shot during a traffic stop Saturday night — the first in-the-line-of-duty death in the office’s history.

Ada County Sheriff Matt Clifford said Sunday at a news conference that Bolter was shot by a 65-year-old driver when he approached the vehicle’s driver’s window. Video from the scene showed Bolter “never even made it to the window,” Clifford said.

Clifford, who spoke through tears, said Bolter died “moments” before the 10 a.m. news conference. Family was with him when he died, according to the sheriff.

“It will take a long time for healing,” Clifford said. “It’s one of those things that can never be forgotten.”

Clifford said the suspect had a $3,000 warrant out for his arrest, but Clifford does not know why he shot Bolter. Boise police said in a news release that an officer shot and killed the suspect shortly after midnight.

Clifford said the Ada County Coroner’s Office will provide the suspect’s identity.

Bolter, who joined the sheriff’s department in January, had been in law enforcement for seven years and previously worked with police departments in Meridian and Pleasant Hill, California.

Bolter stopped the suspect’s vehicle near the area of Overland Road and South Raymond Street shortly before 9 p.m., according to a news release from the Ada County Sheriff’s Office.

Law enforcement launched a manhunt to find the shooter after finding his unoccupied vehicle at about 9:30 p.m. near South Roosevelt and West Dorian streets, the Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.

Boise police said they located “a subject believed to be the shooting suspect” outside a home on South Jackson Street, the Boise Police Department said in its news release.

Members of the Boise Police Department’s Special Operations Unit responded and attempted to take the suspect into custody, but he was “uncooperative,” the release said. The suspect fired at the officers shortly after midnight and a Boise officer “returned fire, striking him,” Boise Police Chief Ron Winegar said at the news conference.

“They attempted for quite some time to peacefully and safely take the suspect into custody,” Winegar said.

The suspect was given medical aid and taken by ambulance to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead, police said. No officers were injured.

Winegar said police recovered the suspect’s handgun from the scene. The chief said he believed the suspect was a Boise resident.

Community supports fallen deputy

A bystander who witnessed the deputy being shot Saturday night called 911 and performed CPR on the deputy, according to previous Statesman reporting.

“It goes to show what kind of community we live in where there are evil people who will do evil things, but there are good people that help us and come to our aid,” Clifford said.

Bolter, who was taken to Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise, was alone during the traffic stop, a spokesperson previously told the Statesman.

Another deputy who was on his way to help the injured deputy was involved in a two-vehicle collision near South Meridian and East Amity roads, and also transported to Saint Alphonsus. Clifford said that deputy is in stable condition.

No “uninvolved bystanders” were injured during the shootings, according to Clifford.

The police department said neighbors received a “CodeRed notification” to alert them of the manhunt, and officers made personal contact with others to warn them away. CodeRed warnings are sent out by law enforcement to alert people in a certain area about a nearby emergency.

“There is absolutely no excuse or justifiable reason for this violence perpetrated against law enforcement officers in our community,” Winegar said. “I am both angered and heartbroken at the same time.”

Gov. Brad Little and the Ada County Board of Commissioners expressed their condolences and asked that flags be lowered to half-staff in honor of Bolter. Little said flags should remain lowered until the day following Bolter’s memorial service, which has not yet been set.

“Day in and day out, our brave men and women in blue put themselves in harm’s way to protect us and keep our communities safe,” Little said in a news release. “Idaho is grieving this devastating loss.”

Law enforcement were still at the scene Sunday morning and had closed parts of the road, according to Winegar. The police chief encouraged people to avoid the area.

The Garden City Police Department will lead the Ada County Critical Incident Task Force’s investigation of the shooting.

Reporter Shaun Goodwin contributed.

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