The man and woman an Idaho State Police trooper shot on Feb. 7 after they rammed his patrol car were married, Kootenai County records show.
Christie O’Leary Little, 40, was killed when Cpl. Dan Howard fired on the Jeep Cherokee following a high-speed chase initiated after Howard pulled the car over for speeding. The marriage license shows Little was divorced and refers to her as Christie Ann O’Leary of Butte.
She and Mark Marion Maykopet, 24, identified on the license as Mark M. Macy Jr., were married Oct. 14. Maykopet said in a letter to the “Story tellerz” at The Spokesman-Review that they were married at the Hitching Post on Government Way.
“I love her more than you can imagine,” he wrote. He said he met her in April when she was released from prison in Butte. “We fell in love. No one wanted to see us happy but we didn’t care.”
Maykopet, who police say was driving the Jeep, faces felony charges of battery and eluding a police officer. He also is wanted on a felony warrant for escape out of Montana. Little had a felony warrant issued by the U.S. Marshals Service and was a person of interest in Maykopet’s escape, an ISP report said.
Maykopet has previous convictions for car theft, drugs and issuing bad checks. Little’s record included time spent in prison for theft, wire fraud and identity theft.
In his letter, Maykopet asks of Howard: “Why did you shoot us in the heads while we were driving away from you. (sic) That’s not protocol.”
Kootenai County Sheriff’s Lt. Stu Miller said he couldn’t respond to that statement because the incident is still under investigation. Sheriff’s Sgt. Brad Maskell is the primary investigator. Howard has declined to be interviewed for the investigation, Miller said Thursday.
Miller said police protocol regarding the use of deadly force varies by agency, but “most agencies are trained to stop the threat. Our (the sheriff’s department) protocol says you can fire on a vehicle if it is endangering your life or the life of someone else.” However, he said, it’s not recommended because the vehicle would continue to move if the driver were killed or injured.
The Jeep Cherokee “ran into the trooper head-on,” Miller said, with both vehicles sustaining damage in front. However, he added, how and why that happened is still under investigation.
Regarding protocol, ISP Lt. Chris Schenck said troopers are trained “to protect themselves whenever they feel threatened” and that deadly force is authorized “when the officer reasonably believes imminent danger of death or serious physical injury exists.”
In his letter, Maykopet refers to himself and Little as “two unarmed fugitives,” but the ISP report says two guns were found on the floor of the Jeep — a fully automatic Master Piece Arms 9 mm (MAC-11 replica) with an empty 32-round magazine and a .25 caliber Taurus pistol. The pistol’s magazine contained eight rounds but the chamber was not loaded.