POST FALLS, Idaho - The Kootenai County Sheriff's Office has identified the driver involved in a shooting with law enforcement officers on Interstate 90 as Marcus Rael of Glendale, Arizona. It turns out he's not the first member of his family to get into a gun battle with police.
The incident happened Sunday on Interstate 90. It started as a traffic stop on Sherman Avenue in Coeur d'Alene, during which Rael, 24, fled the stop in his pickup truck. A chase ensued on westbound I-90, which came to an end at milepost 5, when Rael stopped his truck on top of a Post Falls overpass.
"They were talking over the megaphone saying Marco or Marcus, please come out with your hands up, we're trying to help you," 16-year-old witness Julian Mosher said.
Mosher stopped near the onramp after seeing the police activity and witnessed about a half hour of negotiations between officers and Rael.
"They had their guns drawn and we were looking to see what was going on so they told us to back up and then I just pulled out my camera and started recording," Mosher said.
What happened next was Rael pulled out a rifle and exchanged gunfire with officers. Rael was injured in the exchange of gunfire and taken to Kootenai Health, where he is now listed in stable condition. No officers were injured in the gunfight.
The officers involved in the shooting incident include six officers from the Coeur d'Alene Police Department, three officers from the Post Falls Police Department, two deputies from the Kootenai County Sheriff's Office and one trooper from the Idaho State Police. All of them have been placed on paid administrative leave.
The shooting investigation is being overseen by the Bonner County Sheriff's Office.
Sunday's shooting isn't the first time a member of the Rael family has allegedly exchanged gunfire with police this year. KXLY sources confirm Marcus Rael's brother was a double homicide suspect who was killed during a gun battle with authorities on a freeway in Tempe, Arizona in March.
According to ABC15 in Phoenix, Andrew Rael, 25, was linked to the killing of a tow truck driver and then, hours later, the killing of a convenience store clerk. Rael was subsequently involved in a chase with police officers across the Phoenix area and into Tempe along U.S. 60. To end the chase officers laid down spike strips to stop Rael's car.
Rael got out of his vehicle with a rifle and engaged Arizona Department of Public Safety officers and a security guard, who returned fired and killed him.
According to ABC15, Andrew Rael had an extensive criminal record and had been released from a Colorado prison in October, 2013, after serving four and a half years of a nine-year sentence on assault charges. He was granted permission to serve out his parole back home in Arizona.
Unlike his brother, Marcus Rael was not suspected of committing any crimes in Idaho before the traffic stop Sunday morning. In fact, he had no criminal history up until he pulled away from the traffic stop and led police on a 13-mile chase down the freeway.