A Coeur d’Alene police officer is battling for his life after being shot in the line of duty early this morning. The suspected shooter was arrested in Post Falls after stealing the officer’s police car.
Sgt. Greg Moore, a 16-year veteran of the Coeur d’Alene Police Department, is in critical condition at Kootenai Heath. He was shot about 1:35 a.m. in the 2800 block of Wilbur Avenue in northwest Coeur d’Alene.
“He’s still very critical, still fighting for his life,” police Sgt. Christie Wood said at a press conference in front of the police station at 11 a.m.
“The family is at his bedside,” Wood said.
In a statement, Coeur d’Alene Mayor Steve Widmyer said, “Today has been a tragic day for our city. Our entire community is hurting due to the wounding of Police Sergeant Greg Moore. Sgt. Moore was doing what he did every day he put on his uniform. He was protecting us.”
The suspect, Jonathan Daniel Renfro, 26, of Rathdrum, was arrested shortly after 4 a.m. after a police dog tracked him to a Walmart store near Cabela’s, close to the state line. Renfro, who was on parole for battery on a peace officer and grand theft in Latah County, is scheduled to make his court appearance at 4 p.m. today.
Moore was on a routine, random patrol in the Sunshine Meadows neighborhood when he made contact with a suspicious individual, police said. Moore “ran his name through our dispatch center, and then there was no further contact from him,” said Lt. Stu Miller of the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office.
“I have worked with Sgt. Moore for the last 16 years. He’s an excellent, excellent officer, a fantastic supervisor,” Miller said, pausing as he grew emotional. “And yeah, he was doing his job.”
After shooting the officer and leaving him in the dark street, the suspect stole Moore’s patrol car and fled. A nearby resident who heard the gunshot and saw Moore on the ground called 911.
Police say Renfro (pictured, right) sped through Post Falls, where a Post Falls police officer spotted the stolen car westbound on Seltice Way at North McGuire Road, Miller said. The officer pursued the speeding car, lost site of it briefly, then found the car abandoned on West Pointe Parkway and Beck Road, near a Sysco Spokane Inc. food distribution center.
Police from Idaho and Washington agencies set up a perimeter and called in a K-9 unit, which tracked the suspect to a nearby Walmart store. The suspect was found hiding under a semi-truck trailer parked on the west side of the Walmart, Miller said.
“He was not very compliant,” he said. “The dog subsequently contacted the individual and he was arrested without further incident.”
Police Chief Lee White said “it does not appear” that Moore was shot with his own gun.
Asked about the weapon that was used, Miller said detectives from several agencies are in the field still collecting evidence.
“There’s multiple scenes that we’re trying to get processed, a lot of evidence we’re trying to collect,” Miller said at the press conference. “It’s going to take us a while to get through it all.”
In the Post Falls development where the Walmart is located, two blocks of Pointe Parkway were blocked off this morning. Law enforcement officials loaded a patrol car onto a trailer, and a police dog and officers searched a field near I-90.
Investigators also collected video files from the officer’s patrol car and his body camera, but the footage had not been processed as of this morning, Miller said.
Photo: A K9 unit searched the area where a shooting suspect abandoned a stolen police cruiser in Post Falls, Idaho on Tuesday. SR Photo: Kathy Plonka
Renfro has an Idaho criminal history spanning more than a decade. In 2008 he stole a red Subaru with a friend. They were arrested in Reno, Nevada and extradited to Moscow, Idaho.
While in jail he hatched a plan to escape. After a court hearing on the theft case he kicked a jailer in the leg. The attack in the hallway outside the Latah County Courthouse courtroom didn’t work as the jailer took Renfro to the floor and handcuffed him while his friend made a brief run for freedom.
Renfro later said he tried to escape because he was angry he was “going to miss Christmas.” He also said he was trained in mixed martial arts and cage fighting.
He was sent to prison for one to five years.
The shooting happened directly in front of the home of Chris Weber, who lives at the corner of Wilbur Avenue and Timberlake Loop. Weber said he was amazed that he slept through the incident.
“An officer rang our bell at 2 a.m. and told us to stay inside,” said Weber (pictured, right), adding that police were looking through everyone’s yards with flashlights. Speaking of the suspect, he said, “We’re a little freaked out. This guy was walking through our neighborhood last night.”
Ordinarily, Weber said, the neighborhood is “a pretty calm, quiet place.”
A neighbor two doors down from Weber, who would give her name only as Janine, said, “My dogs woke me up at like 1:20. I thought I heard voices. But I thought it was probably the wind blowing through my windows.” She said she looked out her window and didn’t see anything and went back to bed.
“And like 3 minutes later, the whole place was swimming with cops.”
Mike Kralicek is the last Coeur d’Alene officer shot in the line of duty, in 2004. The officer was critically injured when a fleeing suspect shot him, and spent many months in rehabilitation and physical therapy. He’s permanently disabled from the shooting.
Wood said today’s shooting has had a profound effect on police employees.
“They will do their job, they will take the calls that come in and they will stay professional,” she said. “But they are hurting on the inside and they’re worried about their dear friend.”
On June 6, Sgt. Moore was one of three officers involved in the fatal shooting of a Coeur d’Alene man. The officers were called to a domestic disturbance complaint on the 400 block of E. Dragonfly Drive where they found Thomas White, 28, of Coeur d’Alene, in a next-door neighbor’s backyard. Initial police reports claimed White was armed and ignored repeated demands from the officers to drop his weapon. White then pointed a gun at the officers and exchanged gunfire with the three officers, according to police. White was shot and pronounced dead at the scene.
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