MOSCOW, Idaho - A sniper sprayed dozens of bullets on a courthouse yesterday, killing a police officer and wounding a sheriff's deputy and a civilian, then apparently killed a caretaker and himself in a nearby church.
Investigators believe the shooter fired into an emergency dispatch center inside the Latah County Courthouse late Saturday to lure people into the line of fire.
The officer was killed as he rushed to the courthouse, and the deputy helped pull the officer out of the way before being shot, said David Duke, Moscow's assistant police chief.
Shortly after 6 a.m., three SWAT teams entered the First Presbyterian Church and found the bodies of the shooter and another man, Duke said. An assault rifle, ammunition and spent shells were found next to the gunman's corpse, he said.
The church's pastor, the Rev. Norman Fowler, identified the victim inside the church as Paul Bauer, a sexton, in his 60s, who lived at the church.
Police said the gunman started shooting from a parking lot across from the courthouse shortly after 11 p.m. More than 30 bullets ripped through the county's dispatch center, Duke said.
"Whoever the shooter is wanted to draw people to the courthouse," Duke said. "When officers responded, he did open fire on them."
Lee Newbill, the first officer at the scene, was fatally shot about 11:35 p.m. Saturday, Duke said., Newbill, a six-year veteran, is the city's first officer killed in the line of duty.
Deputy Brannon Jordon, a 17-year-veteran, was shot as he took cover behind a tree after pulling Newbill out of the line of fire, Duke said. Jordon was in serious condition with multiple gunshot wounds.
Moscow, a community of about 20,000 people, is 80 miles south of Spokane, Wash. *