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Officer shot is conscious in hospital

Thomas Clouse Staff writer

A Coeur d’Alene police officer shot in a gunbattle that left another man dead regained consciousness at a Seattle hospital over the weekend.

Officer Michael Kralicek, 35, remains in serious condition but seemed to respond to family members, department spokeswoman Sgt. Christie Wood said in a press release.

“We are unable to provide specific details of his medical condition, but remain hopeful that this is a sign of improvement,” Wood said in the release.

Kootenai County Sheriff Rocky Watson said any news of that sort is encouraging. “But he’s got a long ways to go to get out of danger,” he said.

The incident started on Dec. 28 after Kralicek responded to 1332 Starling Court in the Grouse Meadows subdivision in Hayden.

Kootenai County Deputies Justin Bangs and Kevin Smart were there to investigate a hit-and-run accident and learned that Kralicek had earlier that night been looking into the theft of two beer kegs from a Coeur d’Alene distributor, sources have said.

The officer and two deputies contacted and handcuffed 39-year-old Michael Madonna, who 11 days earlier had been charged with attempting to pull an officer’s gun during a DUI arrest, according to sources and court records.

As they were talking with Madonna, at about 12:20 a.m., he broke away and ran into his house. There, police have said, he grabbed a loaded .357 Magnum revolver from a coffee table, spun and shot twice.

Kralicek was hit in the jaw. Deputies Bangs and Smart shot a total of 26 times, three of which hit Madonna in the face, arm and under the ribs, police officials have said. Madonna died from those wounds.

Several hours later, Kralicek was airlifted to Seattle.

The Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office and Coeur d’Alene Police Department are conducting their own internal investigations into the shooting.

The Idaho State Police is expected this week to turn over its independent investigation to Kootenai County Prosecutor Bill Douglas, ISP Sgt. Curtis Kastens said.

Douglas said last week that he will review those reports to determine whether deputies Smart and Bangs acted appropriately. Douglas previously cleared Bangs of any wrongdoing after he shot and killed a knife-wielding man in Rathdrum on June 18.

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