North Idaho

Lewiston police officer thwarts armed ambush

LEWISTON, Idaho - A Lewiston police officer thwarted an attempted ambush during a traffic stop Monday night.

Officer Thomas Woods stopped a green sedan for not having license plates. The vehicle had also just left a residence known to be frequented by wanted fugitive Jesse Harrell, 20, of Lewiston.

Police say as Woods interviewed the driver, Angelia Barnett-Harrell, 47, he heard a noise from the vehicle's trunk. Woods asked Barnett-Harrell if her son, Jesse, was in the trunk. She replied, "It's a toy gun, don't shoot him." Shortly after asking the question, Woods saw the trunk open slightly and called for back-up.

According to police, Jesse Harrell sprung the trunk lid open and had a firearm in his hand. Police determined the gun was a toy, but had the appearance of an actual firearm. Woods tried to gain control of Harrel and the two fell to the ground, where Woods was able to take Harrel's gun away.

Police say Harrell continued to try to punch and spit on Woods until more officers arrived and were able to handcuff him.

Harrell was booked into the Nez Perce County Jail on his outstanding warrants, including one for aggravated assault. He's also facing new charges of resisting/obstructing a police officer, battery on an officer and possession of a concealed weapon as police found a set of brass knuckles on him.

Barnett-Harrell was arrested for harboring a fugitive and possession of methamphetamine.

Two Lewiston police officers received minor injuries during the altercation, but no one was taken to the hospital.