Escaped white supremacist inmate and accomplice remain at large after ambush at Idaho hospital

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Authorities are searching for a white supremacist Idaho prison inmate and an accomplice who fled after the accomplice shot and wounded correctional officers while they were transporting the inmate from a Boise hospital, according to police.

Police said Nicholas Umphenour is suspected of shoot two correctional officers during Wednesday ambush in the ambulance bay at Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center. An arrest warrant was issued with bail set at $2 million for two counts of aggravated assault on law enforcement and one count of accessory to escape, police said.

He and inmate Skylar Meade left early Wednesday morning after the shooting in a gray 2020 Honda Civic with Idaho plates. It is not known where they are or where they are going, police said Wednesday night.

Three correctional officers were wounded by gunshots during the attack: two allegedly by Umphenour and one by responding police.

Officials described Meade, 31, as a member of a white supremacist gang. meade was sentenced to 20 years in 2017 for shooting a sheriff’s sergeant during a high-speed chase.

The attack occurred at 2:15 a.m. as Idaho Department of Corrections officers were preparing to take Meade back to prison. Department Director Josh Tewalt said during a news conference Wednesday afternoon that Meade was taken to the hospital at 9:35 p.m. Tuesday after he engaged in “self-injurious behavior” and medical staff determined he needed care. of emergency.

One officer shot by the suspect was in critical but stable condition, police said, while the second wounded officer had serious but non-life-threatening injuries. The third injured correctional officer also suffered non-life-threatening injuries when a responding officer, incorrectly believing the shooter was still in the emergency room and seeing an armed person near the entrance, opened fire.

“This brazen, violent and apparently coordinated attack on Idaho Department of Corrections staff, to facilitate the escape of a dangerous inmate, took place right in front of the Emergency Department, where people come for medical help, to often in the most extreme circumstances. “Boise Police Chief Ron Winegar said in a written statement.

Umphenour, who is 180 centimeters (5 feet 11 inches) and 72.5 kilograms (160 pounds), has brown hair and hazel eyes, police said. Detectives have confirmed that he is an associate of Meade, police said. Attempts by The Associated Press to reach Umphenour via social media were unsuccessful.

Meade, 5 feet 6 inches (168 centimeters) and 150 pounds (68 kilograms), has tattoos on his face with the numbers 1 and 11, for A and K, the first and 11th letters of the alphabet, representing the Aryan Knights gang. to which he affiliated. with, Tewalt said. Photos released by police also showed an A and a K tattooed on her abdomen.

The Aryan Knights formed in the mid-1990s in the Idaho prison system to organize criminal activity for a select group of white people in custody, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of Idaho.

Meade had been held in a type of solitary confinement called administrative segregation at the Idaho Maximum Security Institution in Kuna, about 12 miles (19 kilometers) south of Boise, because officials considered him a serious security risk, he said. Tewalt.

Tewalt said earlier in the day that Meade had been escorted to the ambulance and to the hospital by two uniformed officers, unarmed and wearing bulletproof vests, followed by armed personnel. Later that day, Department of Corrections spokeswoman Sanda Kuzeta-Cerimagic said in an email that officials had confirmed that one officer had been in the ambulance with Meade and two officers were in an escort vehicle.

“As far as we know, Meade was restrained while being escorted in and out of the hospital,” Kuzeta-Cerimagic said. He did not specify whether the restraints were handcuffs, shackles or another type of restraint, but said transportation procedures depend on the level of custody of the person being transported.

Authorities also did not say whether other safety measures were in place when Meade left the hospital.

The attack occurred in the middle a wave of armed violence in hospitals and medical centers, which have struggled to adapt to the threats.

A Saint Alphonsus spokesperson said the shooting occurred in the ambulance bay next to its emergency department.

“All patients and staff are safe, the medical center campus is safe and secure and has resumed normal operations. The Emergency Department itself is currently under temporary closure while the Boise Police Department completes the investigation,” Leticia Ramirez said Wednesday morning in a statement.

He said that as an additional precaution, “we have increased security on campus, all entrances to the hospital will be closed” and will be monitored by hospital security until further notice.

Ramirez declined to comment when asked about Meade, deferring to the police department.


Johnson reported from Seattle and Thiessen from Anchorage, Alaska. Associated Press writer Lisa Baumann in Bellingham, Washington, contributed.

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