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Idaho inmate escapes after planned breakout from hospital, 2 officers shot in ‘brazen’ ambush

Idaho inmate escapes after planned breakout from hospital, 2 officers shot in 'brazen' ambush
Police are searching for an escaped inmate and another suspect in the shooting at corrections officers in Boise, Idaho, early Wednesday morning in what officials described as a planned escape.

The incident began at 2:15 a.m. local time when Idaho Department of Corrections officers were attempting to transfer inmate Skylar Meade back to the corrections facility, according to Boise police. Meade had been taken to Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center for treatment.

As the officers were preparing to bring Meade back, an unidentified suspect fired at the officers, police said. Two of the officers were shot, one with non-life-threatening injuries while the other is in critical but stable condition.

Meade and the suspect fled the scene and were last seen in a gray four-door sedan, possibly a Honda Civic, police said. Meade was described as a 31 year-old white male, 5 feet 6 inches tall, and has two face tattoos: the number 1 on one side and 11 on the other.

Boise officers responded to reports of an active shooter at the hospital, which was placed on a modified lockdown, the department said. One of the officers fired at an armed individual at the hospital entrance, who was later identified as an Idaho Department of Corrections officer.

The corrections officer received non-life-threatening injuries.

Boise Police Chief Ron Winegar described the incident as a “brazen, violent, and apparently coordinated attack” to facilitate Meade’s escape.

“We caution anyone who may have contact with the suspects involved in this violent attack and escape to call 911 immediately and not confront them personally,” Winegar said. “They are armed, dangerous, and have shown they are willing to use extreme violence in furtherance of their criminal activity.”

Winegar told reporters Wednesday that Meade is a “known gang member.”

Meade was sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2017 for firing several shots at law enforcement during a high-speed chase while fleeing a traffic stop, according to NBC affiliate KTVB of Boise. He pleaded guilty to charges of aggravated assault, methamphetamine possession, unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and possession of a shank in jail.

Josh Tewalt, director at the department of corrections, said Meade engaged in “injurious behavior” Tuesday night while in a maximum security facility. Medical staff at the department determined he would need to be treated at a hospital, arriving at the hospital just before 10 p.m. local time.

“As the chief adequately and appropriately described, this is what we believe to be a planned attack,” Tewalt said. “But in the event that it was not isolated, we took every precaution we possibly could … the entire south Boise complex was placed on secure status.”

An investigation has also been launched by the corrections department to learn how this incident happened and whether any information on the Meade’s whereabouts can be discovered.

Tewalt was not aware if the Saint Alphonsus was regularly used to transfer inmates, but noted it could vary depending on emergency room capacity by hospital.

Meade was in administrative segregation, a form of restrictive housing that is the highest custody level at the Idaho Department of Corrections, according to Tewalt.

“That’s not a determination by your criminal history,” Tewalt said. “It’s a classification that’s earned by your behavior in custody.”

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