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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Vest saves deputy in Hayden standoff

HAYDEN, Idaho – A man involved in an apparent domestic dispute with his estranged wife fired a handgun at Kootenai County Sheriff’s deputies approaching his house Tuesday afternoon, nearly wounding one of the officers and causing evacuation of some neighboring homes, authorities said.

Shot at close range, the bullet glanced off the protective vest of one of the deputies, said Sheriff’s Capt. Ben Wolfinger. The deputy, who was not identified, was not hospitalized.

“The vest really saved him,” Wolfinger said.

The two deputies retreated from the man’s porch without returning fire. Eventually, about two dozen officers from several police agencies – including a special response team flown in from Boise – gathered at the quiet housing development in Hayden in a standoff that had not ended by 10 p.m.

The armed man inside the house at 9260 Castle Way in Hayden was identified by authorities as Daniel Deisz, 48.

Sheriff’s negotiators spent hours on the phone trying to talk Deisz out of the house. Even though there were no hostages involved, Wolfinger said officers were using extreme caution.

“He already hit a police officer,” said Wolfinger. “That ramps up our caution level.”

Before negotiators made contact with Deisz, he placed a call to the Coeur d’Alene Press and talked to one of the newspaper’s reporters, Wolfinger said.

Deisz spoke intermittently with negotiators by telephone.

“He hangs up, they call him back,” Wolfinger said. “He’s not exactly really cooperating.”

Officers evacuated at least five nearby homes in the small housing development, called Castlewood Court. A nearby fire station was turned into a temporary shelter for the displaced families.

Authorities cut electricity to Deisz’s home and planned to flood it with high-intensity light in hopes of keeping him up all night, Wolfinger said.

Deisz and his wife, Mary Yates-Deisz, are separated. Wolfinger said deputies were called to the home Tuesday to make sure it was safe for Yates-Deisz to return to collect some of her belongings. The woman was not in the immediate vicinity as the officers approached the house about 3:30 p.m. While the officers were standing on the porch, Deisz opened the door and fired a single shot, said Wolfinger.

Yates-Deisz was never in any danger, he said.

An unidentified woman was in the home with Deisz at the time. The woman, described by Wolfinger as a friend, left the house shortly after the shooting without police assistance and was not harmed.

Authorities set up a command post at Scottish Rite Masonic center on Strahorn Road, a busy thoroughfare in Hayden. Strahorn was closed to traffic from Honeysuckle to Hayden. Another street, Circle Drive, was also closed off.

Just a block from the command post is a home for seniors, where residents could be seen watching the police activity outside. A steady stream of children from a nearby Hayden Lake beach rode their bicycles past one of the roadblocks, also trying to get a glimpse.

The Kootenai County Sheriff’s office, Coeur d’Alene Police Department, Post Falls Police Department, Hayden Lake Police Department and Idaho State Police all eventually had officers at the scene. The ISP’s Critical Response Team sent officers from Lewiston and Boise.

Deisz was described by one of his neighbors as “quiet but cranky.”

Law enforcement has been called to the home several times recently, said Wolfinger.

Many of the calls, which often involved medical issues, came from Deisz, said Wolfinger. There were no reports of any violence from those calls, he said.