Two Colville men sought for shooting at police in Ohio aren’t criminals and merely got carried away, says a friend.
“I share their point of view,” said Mark Reynolds, a Colville plumber and self-described activist in the radical right movement in Stevens County.
“There are a lot of us who just don’t trust the government anymore,” he said.
Reynolds said he and “many other Americans believe the cops have no right subjecting people to searches of their bodies and vehicles.”
Stevens County sheriff’s deputies showed Reynolds a police videotape of a shooting that occurred after police stopped a 1977 Chevrolet Suburban in Wilmington last weekend.
The vehicle is registered to Jake Settle, who also has lived in Stevens County and North Idaho.
Reynolds said he didn’t recognize either man on the video, but now concedes they may be his friends.
The Ohio shootout triggered a nationwide manhunt for Chevie Kehoe, 24, and his brother, Cheyne, 20, both of Colville.
Chevie Kehoe’s wife, Karina Gumm Kehoe, and Cheyne Kehoe’s wife, Terra Kehoe, formerly of Colville, and at least two small children, are believed to be traveling with the fugitives, the Ohio Highway Patrol said Friday.
The fugitives haven’t been seen since Sunday when they pulled out of a private campground near Frankfort, Ohio, in a 1977 Dodge Executive motor home.
“It’s not like these guys are criminals or something,” said Reynolds, who posts his anti-government sentiments on the Internet.
“As far as I know, neither one of them have even had a parking ticket.
“I see one brother who got really ticked off because he saw his brother getting jumped on by the cops,” Reynolds said.
Authorities now say that Chevie Kehoe was driving the vehicle. They say the driver got out of the Suburban and refused to submit to a search when asked to do so by a state trooper.
When the driver attempted to flee, a passenger in the vehicle jumped out and began firing a handgun at the trooper and a sheriff’s deputy.
“A lot of us people in the movement don’t think we should submit to these kinds of searches just because we’re stopped by the police,” Reynolds said.
“The way I see it, the guy in the passenger’s seat reacted to the fact that his brother was being jumped by these two cops,” he said.
“I can’t say he reacted rightly, but I understand how it happened,” said Reynolds.
“I don’t think this will be the last time you see this kind of thing happen if they keep it up,” Reynolds said of the police officers’ actions.
The Kehoe brothers were indicted Thursday on multiple counts of assault and attempted murder of police officers.
They also are charged with carrying concealed weapons and possession of criminals’ tools.
“They piled on a whole stack of ‘thought crimes,”’ Reynolds said. “Hey, I’ve got tools in my truck. Does that make me a criminal?”
Reynolds, the Kehoe brothers, and Don and Tim Hoecher, also of Colville, were among a small group of critics who attended a human rights organizational meeting a few years ago at the Colville Grange, Reynolds recalled.
Reynolds said he and his friends attended the meeting “out of curiosity.”
“They were talking about a pretended problem that didn’t exist in our minds,” Reynolds said of the human rights meeting.
He has maintained contact with Chevie Kehoe since then.
“Chevie’s been making his living by attending gun shows here and everywhere else, and wheeling and dealing in guns to make a buck,” Reynolds said.
But Chevie Kehoe, Reynolds said, hasn’t become a licensed firearms dealer.
“He doesn’t see why you should have to get permission from somebody to buy and sell guns, and pay a fee for it.”