Twin Falls County Prosecutor Grant Loebs has determined all members of the Ada County Sheriff’s Office SWAT team, Boise Police and Meridian Police were justified when they shot a 32-year-old Nampa man in a Kuna neighborhood earlier this year.
Ramon Milanez died at the end of an intense six-hour search and standoff, which involved officers from all three agencies.
Milanez opened fire on a Kuna Police officer during a traffic stop the morning of Jan. 24, ran away, and then spent hours hiding in the Linder/Deer Flat/Hubbard roads neighborhood to avoid arrest.
Loebes reviewed the Ada County Critical Incident Task Force (CITF) report into the shooting of Milanez and determined all the officers “had legitimate fears for their safety, the safety of their fellow officer, and the safety of the general public because of Milanez’s actions.”
Our internal investigation into the actions ACSO SWAT deputies Jeremy Byington, Raul Garcia, Ron Santucci, Cory Feldman, and D.J. Rupert that day is almost complete.
That investigation will determine if deputies followed all ACSO policies during the incident. Boise and Meridian police are in the process of doing similar investigations for their officers.
Loebs reviewed hours of interviews, video recordings, forensic evidence, photographs, and a variety of other reports — all generated and collected by the CITF – before arriving at his conclusion.
The incident began just before 4 a.m. on Jan. 24 when a Kuna Police officer attempted to pull over a BMW sedan on Linder Road as part of an investigation into illegal drug activity.
When the driver kept going, the officer followed. Moments later, the driver pointed a handgun out of the window and fired an estimated 8-to-10 shots at the officer near the E. Wood Owl Drive intersection.
The officer immediately stopped his pursuit and asked for assistance. That officer was not hit by any bullets.
The officer saw the BMW turn in to the subdivision on the east side of Linder Road. More officers arrived and found the BMW abandoned on Chapparosa Drive a short time later. The doors were open and no one was inside.
Kuna Police — with the assistance of the Ada County Sheriff’s Office, Boise Police, and Meridian Police — set up a perimeter around the neighborhood and began to search for Milanez.
The search took hours as officers investigated numerous leads — including footprints in the snow, open doors on outbuildings, and barking dogs — and knocked on dozens of doors checking on people before they tracked Milanez down to a home in the 400 block of E. Black Hawk Drive around 10:30 a.m.
The homeowner told police he didn’t know Milanez or how he got into the house. Officers quickly got the people in nearby homes out while members of the tactical team moved into place, set up a perimeter, and sent a SWAT robot to the home to get some video images.
That video showed Milanez walking around inside with something resembling a handgun, Loebs said.
Around 11 a.m. the garage door opened. Officers saw Milanez get into a car and try to back out of the driveway.
A Boise Police officer working with the tactical team, who had an armored vehicle parked nearby, drove over and blocked the car before it could get out of the driveway.
That is when members of the tactical team fired at Milanez in the car. He was pronounced dead a short time later. Investigators did not find a handgun at the home on Black Hawk Drive but did find two guns by a backpack Milanez dropped near the home before he broke in.
The Critical Incident Task Force does an independent investigation of all uses of lethal force by law enforcement in Ada County. The Idaho State Police is the lead investigative agency for this incident.
The Ada County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank the Idaho State Police for their thorough and comprehensive work leading the CITF investigation and Twin Falls County Prosecutor Grant Loebes for reviewing the evidence.