Gunshots sent people running for cover Tuesday afternoon after an apparently distraught gunman opened fire in Coeur d’Alene.
Police said Terry A. Jones fired at least 10 shots from his pickup camper on Government Way, where he was barricaded late Tuesday.
No one was hit by the bullets, but one shot whisked past a police officer and into a building window, shattering glass near the officer.
“It appears he is despondent over the recent death of his mother,” said Coeur d’Alene Police Capt. Carl Bergh. Jones’ mother died about 10 days ago.
At 10:10 p.m., officers began shooting rounds of tear gas into a window of Jones’ camper, but he hadn’t come out as of 11:45 p.m. By then, several rounds of the gas had been fired.
“Leave me alone, I want to go to sleep,” he told police, who could hear him coughing.
Bergh said he wasn’t surprised that the gas had not forced Jones out sooner. “They’re smaller rounds so they can build up the effect gradually,” Bergh said. “It takes some time to take effect.”
Officers were called to the Bambi RV Park, 3113 Government Way, at about 4:40 p.m. Tuesday after someone reported hearing several shots fired.
Terry Jones, also known as Hugh Wayne Jones, lives in an older model Dodge pickup with a camper on the back, Bergh said. Jones’ vehicle was parked in the RV park’s first lot on the west side of Government Way.
Police had arrived at the trailer park when Jones again opened fire from inside his camper.
“The officer was ducking low and we heard him yelling ‘Mr. Jones please step out of your RV,”’ said Forest Robin, 13, who was at Auto Trim of North Idaho across the street. “Then I heard a big gunshot. It kind of shocked me, I’ve never heard a real gunshot.”
A police officer warned Shane Nelson to get away from the area right before the Coeur d’Alene man heard two gunshots.
“After the two shots everybody was on the ground and people were running,” Nelson said. While passers-by dropped to the ground for protection, he quickly drove away in his car.
More than 35 officers from the Coeur d’Alene Police Department, Kootenai County Sheriff’s Department and Idaho State Police responded, blocking off about a quarter-mile stretch of Government Way.
Emergency workers evacuated residents in the RV park and from surrounding businesses and homes.
By listening to the gunshots, officers suspected Jones was firing two different guns. Jones has a criminal record that includes weapons and drug charges, Bergh said.
Although most people were evacuated from the area, some hid in nearby businesses. Bergh said one man was trapped in the Kootenai County Motor Pool building directly south of Jones.
Fearing he might be shot, the police officer who had the bullet fly past him was also unable to move from his position for several hours before he got out.
“We’re just staying behind the walls,” said Art Nelmar, owner of Coeur d’Alene Muffler, where he hid directly across from Jones’ trailer. “You hear gunshots and you duck.”
Nelmar said he has seen Jones drinking on numerous occasions and has had to confront him.
“He’s staggered across the street a couple of times,” Nelmar said. “A couple of times he beat his dog up and I hollered at him to quit beating the animal.”
At 10 p.m., police said they had not heard any shots since 7 p.m.
“We are going to continue to try and have him come out voluntarily,” Bergh said.
The following fields overflowed: BYLINE = Winda Benedetti Staff writer Staff writer Craig Welch contributed to this report.