North Idaho

Friends claim CdA shooter wasn't a bad person

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - Friends of Christian Buquet, the man who was shot a man in the chest and then led police on a chase through Coeur d'Alene, where he shot at police and passersby at random, said the way their friend has been portrayed is wrong.

"He is not a bad person. He has people out there who loved him, friends and family just like anyone else," Chris Martinez said.

Martinez, who was friends with Buquet for five years, remembers him as a young boy who was nice and loved to draw.

Martinez saw Buquet two days before the shooting.

"We didn't see it coming. No one did," he said.

Investigators say Buquet, 19, shot 29-year old Frank James in the chest at 11th and Lakeside Saturday. He then randomly started firing his weapon, something his friends have a hard time believing.

"Starting shooting randomly ... that's not what happened," Martinez claimed.

Buquet was chased by police, who say he kept shooting even as he drove towards Higgins Point. It was there that he lost control of his vehicle, shots were exchanged and Buquet was killed.

CdA shooter friends

  "Through talking to his family that the reason he went up to Higgins Point is because that's a place where him and his family have always gone," Dylan Bertram said.

Bertram met Buquet in the seventh grade. It's been a few months since the two have been in contact, but Bertram said he lost a best friend.

"I was pretty devastated," Bertram said.

Both Bertram and Martinez did admit Buquet had run-ins with the law as a juvenile. As an adult he has been arrested one time for attempted robbery in 2011.

Martinez says his friend appeared stressed the last few months, adding as an explanation that "life is stressful."

Bertram, meanwhile, said they had been unfairly judged based on their appearance.

Neither Bertram nor Martinez know what triggered Buquet's actions on Saturday.

Investigators have said they do not have a motive yet for Saturday's shootings and are asking if you witnessed the shootings to call the Kootenai County Sheriff's Department.