North Idaho

Bonner County Sheriff discusses I-90 shooting

Bonner County Sheriff discusses I-90 shooting

SANDPOINT, Idaho - The Bonner County Sheriff's Office held a press conference Wednesday morning to discuss their investigation into the officer-involved shooting on Interstate 90 in Post Falls last month.

Marcus Rael, 24, led officers from several law enforcement agencies on a pursuit that ended on a freeway overpass in Post Falls where, after attempts at negotiating with him failed, there was an exchange of gunfire involving Rael and a dozen officers that ended with Rael being wounded and taken into custody.

Bonner County Sheriff Daryl Wheeler said a Coeur d'Alene police officer was trying to pull Rael over on Sherman Avenue because he suspected he was drunk driving. Rael pulled away from the traffic stop and onto Interstate 90.

"Mr. Rael was driving westbound when he saw the officers, he pulled off of the highway and that's when he started shooting at the officers prior to him crashing into the jersey barrier," Wheeler said.

"I can tell you Mr. Rael started shooting and the officers did try to talk him out of his fortified position and the officers did try to talk him out of giving up his weapons and come out," Wheeler said.

Officers knew Rael's name because he apparently called 911 during the pursuit and asked dispatchers for help. When he started shooting at officers and deputies a second time, they returned fire.

"They showed great courage and restraint that night trying to deescalate that scene. If you've never been in a firefight or been shot at you don't understand how stressful that can be," Wheeler said.

Sheriff Wheeler said the patrol cars that boxed Rael's truck up against a jersey guard are riddled with bullets, and if those bullet holes can be traced back to his weapons, each bullet hole could represent what could be a felony charge against him in the future.

Rael remains in custody in the Kootenai County Jail.