The man suspected of shooting an Idaho State Police officer Monday night was found dead on Tuesday in a rural eastern Idaho barn where authorities said he fled with a female accomplice.
Officials said the 23-year-old man, identified as Steven Bosserman, apparently died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Fremont County Sheriff Terry Thompson said Bosserman’s 19-year old wife, Cynthia, was taken into custody as the morning standoff at the barn began and was being held in the county jail.
After questioning her, Thompson said the man “told his girlfriend he wouldn’t be taken alive.”
The pair was wanted for the shooting of State Police Cpl. Ismael Gonzales, 30, who was wearing a bulletproof vest when he was shot in the chest four times at close range after stopping the two for reckless driving on U.S. 20 near St. Anthony. His assailant used a .38-caliber pistol.
A motorist had called authorities to report the Jeep being driven recklessly. The State Police said the Jeep was stolen on May 5 in South Carolina and the Florida plates it bore were stolen two days later. Thompson said that since stealing the car in Myrtle Beach, the couple had been traveling the country.
Gonzales was treated for abrasions at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls and released late Monday.
State Police District 6 Commander Patrick McDonald said Gonzales “just walked up to him and greeted him and that’s as far as he got. He was shot four times.”
“It’s like he told me when I was loading him on the helicopter, ‘Why did he shoot me? There wasn’t any reason to shoot me,”’ McDonald said.
After he was shot, Gonzales fired at the fleeing Jeep, hitting it once, and then gave pursuit in his own car while radioing for assistance.
He lost track of the Jeep within two miles and was given first aid by two other officers before one resumed the chase and found the Jeep down a side road, crashed into rocks behind some trees.
Police said it appeared the two walked along the Fall River from where they abandoned the Jeep until they found the barn.
A search plane spotted the couple running toward the barn early Tuesday morning. Police managed to capture the woman, but the man fled into the structure, firing at police as he ran. The sheriff said officers did not return fire at the time.
About 90 minutes later, police pumped tear gas into the barn to flush the suspect out. After waiting another 90 minutes without any response, they searched the barn and found the man’s body.
Gonzales was only the third Idaho State Police officer shot in the line of duty. The last was officer Steve Hobbs who was also saved by his bulletproof vest when he was shot in southern Idaho in 1991. The other was in 1935 when officer Fontane Cooper was killed by fugitive Douglas Van Vlack, who killed himself in his jail cell just hours before his scheduled execution.
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