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An Idaho State Police trooper who shot a fugitive to death during a pursuit north of Coeur d’Alene in February will not face charges.
Trooper Dan Howard was justified when he used deadly force to stop a Jeep that was approaching him after he exited his police car following a collision, the Ada County Prosecutor’s Office said Thursday.
Howard fired several shots, six of which hit the Jeep. Investigators believe he was aiming at the driver of the Jeep, Mark M. Maykopet, a fugitive from Butte, but one of the shots hit Maykopet’s wife, 40-year-old Christie Ann Little, alias O’Leary, who also was a fugitive.
Ada County Deputy Prosecutor Shawna Dunn said Little’s seat was slightly reclined, which led to her being shot even though bullet holes on the Jeep showed Howard was aiming at Maykopet in the driver’s seat.
“Her seat was basically in the line of fire between the trooper and the driver,” Dunn said.
An Idaho State Patrol officer recently was interviewed about an officer-involved shooting that took place a month before.
ISP Cpl. Dan Howard shot and killed Christie O’Leary Little on Feb. 7, but for weeks declined to be interviewed by investigators.
Recently, however, Howard “agreed to (the interview) and contacted us,” Lt. Lee Richardson of the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Department said Friday.
The interview on March 8 lasted “a couple of hours,” he said.
Sheriff’s Sgt. Brad Maskell is investigating the shooting, during which Little’s husband, Mark Marion Maykopet, was wounded.
A fugitive shot by an Idaho State Police corporal claims he was driving away from the man when shots were fired.
“Why did you shoot us in the heads while we were driving away from you. (sic) That’s not protocol," Mark Marion Maykopet, 24, wrote of Cpl Dan Howard in a letter sent to The Spokesman-Review from the Kootenai County Jail. Maykopet also claims he was unarmed, but investigators say they found two firearms in his vehicle.
Maykopet was married to Christie O’Leary Little, 40, who was killed when Howard fired on the Jeep Cherokee following a high-speed chase initiated after Howard pulled the car over for speeding.
Howard has refused to talk with investigators from the Kootenai County Sheriff's Department.
A Kootenai County marriage license shows Little was divorced and refers to her as Christie Ann O’Leary of Butte.
“I love her more than you can imagine,” Maykopet 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.”
An Idaho State Police report confirms that Cpl. Dan Howard fired the shots that killed one person and injured another after two Montana fugitives rammed his patrol car on Feb. 7.
Mark Marion Maykopet, 24, of Butte, was treated at Kootenai Medical Center then jailed on a $1.5 million bond.
His passenger, Christie O’Leary Little, 40, also known as Christie Ann Little, was killed.
Following the incident, detectives found two guns on the floor of the Jeep Cherokee driven by Maykopet, the report said. A fully automatic 9 mm was found behind the rear seat with an empty 32-round magazine.
A .25 caliber pistol was found under the passenger seat toward the rear with an eight-round magazine, but the chamber was not loaded.
A Butte man arrested after a police shooting that killed his passenger in North Idaho had escaped from a halfway house in Helena last October.
Mark Marion Maykopet, 24, is pictured at the far left in 2009, courtesy of the Montana Deparmtent of Corrections.
The picture to the right is at the Kootenai County Jail after his arrest Monday night.
Investigaors say the deadly police shooting occured just after Maykopet rammed an Idaho State Police car.
Christie Ann Little, 40, (right) was shot by a trooper and pronounced dead at Kootenai Medical Center on Monday.
Charges filed against Maykopet allege he rammed Cpl. Dan Howard’s patrol car during a police chase.
Kootenai County Sheriff’s Lt. Stu Miller said he could not confirm that Howard is the trooper who fired the shots, but authorities said previously that the trooper who fired shots did so after the Jeep collided with his patrol car.