Injured Coeur d’Alene police Officer Mike Kralicek returned to Coeur d’Alene on Friday afternoon and is in Kootenai Medical Center’s intensive care unit in serious condition.
Police Chief Wendy Carpenter made the announcement several hours after Kralicek was flown from Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center to Felts Field in Spokane Valley. He was taken by ambulance to KMC.
Carpenter said that she hadn’t yet seen the 35-year-old officer but that her feelings were indescribable as she watched the ambulance pull into the emergency room.
“It truly is a miracle,” said Carpenter, who visited the officer last week in Seattle. “Mike is a very strong individual. This just proves it. He’s very determined and positive.”
Kralicek was shot in the jaw Dec. 28 from about 6 feet away with a .357-caliber Magnum during a shootout in Hayden.
Carpenter couldn’t provide specifics on Kralicek’s condition, but she read a hand-written letter from his wife, Carrie Kralicek. The note said he is “very much awake” but recovering from brain and spinal cord injuries. The officer remains unable to speak but is able to answer yes-no questions with nods and eye contact.
While at Harborview, Kralicek underwent a tracheotomy and surgeries to repair his carotid artery and his jaw.
“It’s simply too soon to speculate on the final outcome,” Carrie Kralicek wrote, adding that she is thankful for the public’s support.
Local firefighters and Northwest Women in Business have planned a benefit dinner and auction for Kralicek on Wednesday at the Coeur d’Alene Inn. The money will help the Kralicek family pay expenses, many of which are from staying in Seattle for three weeks.
Kootenai County Prosecutor Bill Douglas is reviewing the Idaho State Police’s investigation into the shootout that left Kralicek injured and suspect Michael Madonna, 39, dead.
Douglas said Friday he wants to finish his findings by late next week.
Douglas will determine whether any laws were broken when Kootenai County sheriff’s Deputies Kevin Smart and Justin Bangs fired on Madonna.
The incident started when Madonna allegedly stole two beer kegs from a distributor. Madonna was handcuffed but somehow escaped, ran inside his Grouse Meadows home, grabbed a loaded .357-caliber pistol and fired two shots, one of which allegedly hit Kralicek in the face, according to previous interviews with law enforcement officials.
Douglas previously cleared Bangs for shooting and killing 33-year-old Frank Saucedo Jr. on June 18 in Rathdrum.
In that case, Saucedo refused deputies’ orders to drop his knife, withstood three shotgun beanbag rounds and continued advancing on a deputy before Bangs fired twice with a .223-caliber rifle.