A motel shootout with a happier ending took place in Plummer, Ida., on the same night an Omak, Wash., officer was killed responding to a similar call.
The Wednesday incidents were uncannily alike, said Benewah County Sheriff Joe Blackburn.
“It was a domestic call at the motel in Plummer,” Blackburn said. “The guy had a gun. He fired shots inside the motel and outside.”
No one was wounded at Plummer. At Omak, one officer died after being shot at a motel. Another officer was shot in the thigh while subduing the critically wounded suspect.
Blackburn credits the happy ending in Plummer to “great teamwork” between three of his officers and three Coeur d’Alene Tribal Police officers who also responded.
“A show of force really helps in something like that,” Blackburn said. Someone with a gun may shoot one officer, he added, “but he’s not going to shoot four or five.”
Blackburn wants county commissioners to approve his cross-deputization of tribal officers, despite concerns about liability.
One of two tribal officers he’s already deputized was on the scene at the Hiway Motel.
Plummer is on the Coeur d’Alene Indian Reservation.
“It turned out it wasn’t tribal people involved, but we didn’t know that,” Blackburn said.
Deputies arrived at the motel after 10 p.m. Wednesday and heard a pistol shot from the vicinity of one motel room.
According to a sheriff’s report, the incident began when 37-year-old Cliff D. Buldoc called his wife, Cynthia, and told her he was going to commit suicide. She went to the motel, where he had been staying.
When deputies responded to the call, they could hear a man yelling and heard a pistol shot coming from the vicinity of Room 17, the report said.
Deputies said they saw Buldoc outside, wearing only underwear. He was following Cynthia Buldoc, raising his fist and yelling that he was going to break her neck, according to the report.
Sheriff’s Deputies Jerrie Northrup and Timothy Asbury ran to arrest Cliff Buldoc while deputy Patrick Scott covered them with a rifle. Buldoc resisted, was forced to the ground and handcuffed, the report said.
In the motel room, officers found furniture piled up against the door. Deputies said drapes were hanging out an open window, a jammed pistol was on the bed and, nearby, a bullet hole was burned into the mattress. Officers also found a mostly empty whiskey bottle and a pocket planner containing a note from Cliff Buldoc saying he would kill himself.
Outside were two 9-mm shell casings and a bullet hole in the dirt.
Deputies said Cynthia Buldoc was also carrying three pistols.
Cliff Buldoc remains in jail, charged with aggravated assault, felon in possession of a firearm, domestic battery, malicious injury to property and being intoxicated and possessing a firearm.
Tribal officers at the scene were Trent Aubertin, Bryson Holt and Harold Scott.
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