July 21, 2005 in Idaho

Hayden standoff ends with tear gas

By The Spokesman-Review
 
Jesse Tinsley photo

Daniel Deisz stares into the remote camera during his first appearance Wednesday at the Kootenai County Jail on charges of attempted murder.
(Full-size photo)

A Hayden, Idaho, man is in jail on charges of first-degree attempted murder of a police officer and aggravated assault following a 10-hour standoff in a normally quiet cul-de-sac in Hayden on Tuesday night.

Daniel M. Deisz, 48, is being held on $500,000 bail in the shooting of Kootenai County Sheriff’s Deputy Dennis Stinebaugh Tuesday afternoon at Deisz’s home, 9260 N. Castle Way.

Stinebaugh was not injured, but the bullet from the semiautomatic handgun punctured his uniform shirt and grazed his bulletproof vest, according to Sheriff’s officials.

Sgt. Barry Alleman told a sheriff’s detective that the gun was pointed directly at him before Deisz shot at Stinebaugh. The threat on Alleman’s life prompted the charge of aggravated assault.

Deisz surrendered at 1:30 a.m. Wednesday when officers used tear gas to force him out of his home.

Neighbors expressed relief Wednesday that no one was hurt and that weeks of tension over a volatile domestic situation on their street was finally resolved.

They said that officers with drawn guns had appeared at the home several times in the last couple of weeks. One neighbor said she missed work because she was afraid to leave her teenage daughter home alone.

Many had never talked to Deisz, who they said tended to stay inside with the blinds drawn. But, neighbors said, they had heard him in his yard, screaming during recent confrontations.

“The sheriff’s office told us he was an alcoholic and abused prescription drugs,” said one neighbor, Patti Bernard. “Then you’re afraid to go out in your yard.”

Deisz’s estranged wife, Mary Yates-Deisz, had recently moved out and was having problems getting her belongings, according to sheriff’s records and neighbors.

Neighbors witnessed Deisz carrying his wife’s clothing and other things to the garbage can, and Yates-Deisz called the sheriff’s office to complain that Deisz was destroying her things and had threatened to kill her cat.

The sheriff’s office also received calls in recent weeks from people worried that Deisz was attempting suicide. One caller told police he thought Deisz had slit his wrists, and another reported that Deisz took 12 sleeping pills, according to sheriff’s records.

“I know we’ve been out there several times,” said Sheriff’s Capt. Ben Wolfinger. “The calls we’ve had out there are like, ‘Check on his welfare.’ ”

Because of the reports that he was suicidal, and because of previous confrontations officers had with Deisz, they took the precaution of approaching the home carefully, sheriff’s officials said.

However, “there was never a criminal act that would allow them to even enter the residence,” Wolfinger said.

On Tuesday, officers were making sure the house was secure so that Yates-Deisz could collect her belongings.

First they phoned several times to let Deisz know they were coming. Then four officers went to the house – two to the front door and two to the door in the garage, according to testimony Detective Dan Mattos gave in a probable cause hearing on Wednesday morning.

When Deisz didn’t answer as they banged on the front door, Sgt. Alleman joined deputies Stinebaugh and Jeremy Young in the garage. They used a key to open the garage door, then Stinebaugh pushed the door open with his foot while announcing their presence, according to Mattos.

“At which time, Mr. Deisz appeared with a handgun and pointed at the direction of Stinebaugh and Sgt. Alleman,” Mattos said.

Deisz was only about 3 feet away when he fired, Mattos said. Stinebaugh turned before being shot, and after he was hit, Alleman pulled him out of the way while Young retreated for cover in the garage, Mattos said.

None of the officers returned fire, and Deisz did not fire again, Mattos said.

Because they had heard a woman yelling in the house, the officers left to get more help, covering each other as they went. The woman, a friend of Deisz, soon left of her own accord.

Sheriff’s deputies immediately began closing off the area. Neighbors trying to return home were stopped by roadblocks, and others who were already home were methodically evacuated. One woman with two children was hurried down the street to a safer location.

The Kootenai County sheriff’s special response unit and hostage negotiators were assisted by the Post Falls arrest team and the state Critical Response Team, which flew in from Twin Falls and Boise, Wolfinger said.

Brad Wages and Suzanne Morrison, who recently moved into a home three doors down from Deisz, were returning home from the beach, but couldn’t get anywhere near their house.

They eventually were referred to the fire station on Hayden Avenue, where they watched television in the firefighters’ living quarters and were given a Red Cross voucher for a night in a motel when it became clear they couldn’t go home.

They said they weren’t surprised by the standoff, because they’d seen the police at the house several times already.

“I don’t think he’ll be back for a while,” Wages said.

For now, Deisz is in jail. His criminal history includes three misdemeanor convictions in Montana for domestic abuse, obstructing an officer and criminal mischief.

He also has a thick civil file in a “partition” complaint he filed against a former girlfriend with whom he purchased the Castle Way house. The court records indicate that his ex-girlfriend had sought a protection order and her attorney asked that Deisz be frisked before attending her deposition.

Deisz appeared ill at his first appearance in court Wednesday, holding his abdomen and leaning over the table. He sat in a wheelchair, because he was being uncooperative and wouldn’t move when ordered, sheriff’s officials said.

He faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted, Wolfinger said.

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