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Eye On Boise

FBI agents used ‘reasonable force’ in shooting kidnapper, rescuing teen

Both the U.S. Attorney for Idaho and the Valley County prosecuting attorney announced today that their inquiries are complete, and no criminal charges are warranted in the shooting of kidnapper James DiMaggio last August by an FBI hostage rescue team at a remote Idaho campsite 40 miles from Cascade; the team rescued 16-year-old Hannah Anderson unharmed.

The agents were taken within hiking distance of the campsite by helicopter, and an FBI airplane remained overhead, tracking the incident with infrared video. “Some of the Hostage Rescue Team agents moved in when it was reported that DiMaggio was separated from the hostage,” according to a joint news release today from the U.S. Attorney and county prosecutor.  “When several agents got within approximately 100 yards of the subject, DiMaggio fired two rifle shots.  Two agents, who could see DiMaggio and were directly within his firing line, believed DiMaggio was shooting toward them.  The two agents returned fire, striking DiMaggio multiple times.  A third agent found and safely removed the hostage.”

Based on all the evidence, including DiMaggio’s autopsy, the post-rescue interview of the teen, and the video, which showed such detail as the heat from the shots fired as well as the interactions of all the individuals on the ground, authorities concluded that “the FBI Hostage Rescue Team agents used reasonable force in defending themselves and/or another as relating to the death of Mr. DiMaggio.” So no charges will be filed against the agents.

DiMaggio kidnapped Hannah after killing her mother and brother in California and fled with her to Idaho, prompting a manhunt. Area horseback riders who noticed the pair and thought they seemed out of place in the back-country notified authorities, leading to Hannah’s rescue.

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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