Local news

Cuffed man shot officer

A 39-year-old suspect killed in a police shootout that also left one officer seriously wounded managed to fire off two shots even though he was handcuffed, an anonymous law enforcement source said Tuesday.

Kootenai County sheriff’s deputies Justin Bangs and Kevin Smart fired 26 times while hitting misdemeanor suspect Michael Madonna three times in the Dec. 28 shootout in a quiet Hayden subdivision. Madonna, wearing handcuffs, fired two shots. Coeur d’Alene Police Officer Michael Kralicek, 35, was shot once at close range in the jaw.

“He never had a chance to unholster his weapon,” the source said of Kralicek, speaking only on condition of anonymity. “He walked right into it.”

Kralicek’s wife, Carrie, issued a statement Tuesday about the condition of her husband, who continues to fight for his life at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

“Let it be known Michael is a fighter but has had a serious injury,” Carrie Kralicek said in the statement. “These are difficult times for us and without the support of our community, family and our law enforcement family we couldn’t have made it this far.”

Bangs and Smart remain on paid administrative leave while the Idaho State Police investigates the shooting. Their names had not officially been released, but have been confirmed through law enforcement sources.

Sheriff Rocky Watson confirmed that Bangs was the same deputy who fatally shot a drunken man in Rathdrum on June 18 as the suspect charged several officers with a knife. “That’s another reason I’d like to give him some extra space,” Watson said of his decision to withhold the officers’ names.

Statistically, officers are involved in major incidents about once every 14 years, he said. “And he’s had two in six months,” Watson said.

According to the Sheriff’s Department Web site, Smart is assigned to patrol Hayden. Telephone listings could not be found Tuesday for Bangs or Smart, and they could not be reached for comment.

Kootenai County Prosecutor Bill Douglas cleared Bangs of any wrongdoing when he shot 33-year-old Frank Saucedo Jr. with a .223-caliber rifle on June 18.

An ISP investigation determined that Saucedo was drunk when he charged five officers while waving a serrated fisherman’s knife. Deputy Art Dollard shot Saucedo three times with beanbag rounds, but he continued to advance and ignored repeated commands to drop the knife.

In his report, Douglas wrote that Bangs, who had been on the force for about a year, acted to protect Dollard and other officers when he fired his rifle twice, killing Saucedo.

At the time, Watson withheld Dollard’s and Bangs’ names for two weeks while that investigation was completed.

Watson said Tuesday that police officers on TV shows shoot somebody every day and then go have a beer. “That’s not real life,” he said.

“If you shoot and kill or hurt someone, it really weighs on you,” Watson said. “It doesn’t mean they are wimps. It means they are human and I wouldn’t want it any other way.”

On Monday, ISP Capt. Clark Rollins gave Douglas a verbal summary of some of the details of the current case. The full report is not expected until late this week or early next week, Douglas said.

Those files will include reviews of evidence at the scene and interviews with Bangs and Smart. It is also expected to have a video tape of the incident captured by a camera in a patrol car.

“I understand there is a video out there somewhere and possibly audio,” Douglas said.

Rollins said Monday that the audio includes a recording of the entire shooting, including Madonna telling officers that they should kill him.

The incident started about 9 p.m. Dec. 27 when Madonna – a vacuum cleaner salesman – allegedly stole two kegs of beer from Odom Distributing, located near the Coeur d’Alene police station on Schreiber Way.

Three hours later, deputies Smart and Bangs were in the Grouse Meadow subdivision in Hayden investigating a hit-and-run accident when they found Madonna’s truck at his home at 1332 Starling Avenue.

After running a computer check on Madonna’s license plates, the deputies learned that Kralicek had been investigating the earlier theft of the beer kegs and alerted him to respond to the scene, sources said.

About 12:20 a.m., the deputies made contact with Madonna and his girlfriend and separated them. One of the deputies apparently handcuffed Madonna in the garage. At some point, Madonna slipped his legs through his bound hands – just as he had done during a Dec. 17 DUI arrest – and ran into his home and grabbed his .357 Magnum revolver, the anonymous law enforcement source said.

Madonna fired twice. Using Smith and Wesson .45-caliber handguns that hold nine rounds each, Bangs and Smart fired 26 times, the source said. During the shootout, one of the deputies fired several shots through a wall attempting to hit Madonna inside the home. One of those bullets struck a dog in the house and killed it, the source said.

Bullets stuck Madonna in the arm, face and below the rib cage, Wolfinger said in a previous interview.

Kralicek suffered one bullet wound to the jaw. He had been upgraded from critical to serious condition after surgery to improve his breathing and to close a wound to his carotid artery.

On Tuesday, Coeur d’Alene Police Chief Wendy Carpenter described her visit with Kralicek, who is believed to be the first Lake City officer shot in the line of duty in at least 30 years.

“He is an officer that every citizen would like to have come to their house and take care of their problem,” Carpenter said in a prepared statement. “With this kind of injury, only time will tell what the outcome will be.”

Carrie Kralicek said her husband’s condition remains critical and more information will be released if he improves.

“Michael is my best friend,” she said. “He loved his job as well as the community, and he believed in the safety and security of our community.”

Staff writer Kevin Taylor contributed to this report.



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