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Idaho police capture white supremacist and accomplice after hospital ambush

Idaho police capture white supremacist and accomplice after hospital ambush
A white supremacist prison gang member and his accomplice are in police custody after being on the run in Idaho.

On Thursday, Idaho officials said that Skylar Meade, 31, and Nicholas Umphenour, 28, were arrested in Twin Falls – about 130 miles (209km) from where they escaped.

According to local reports citing police, Meade is a member of the Aryan Knights, a prison gang white supremacy group based primarily in Idaho. Pictures released by the police showed Meade’s tattoos including an A and a K on his stomach.

The pair’s arrest comes after Umphenour, police said, staged an attack on Idaho corrections department officers on Wednesday as they were transporting Meade back to prison from a hospital in Boise. Meade was being treated for for “self-injurious” wounds to his face and body, said corrections department director Josh Tewalt.

He added that the officers transporting Meade were unarmed and wore ballistic vests. They were also accompanied by armed staff.

Following the ambush, in which three officers were wounded, the pair fled the scene and were seen traveling in a grey four-door sedan, police said.

Meade, who had been incarcerated since 2016, was serving time for aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer with a firearm enhancement. He also has prior convictions including felony possession of a controlled substance, grand theft, and introduction of contraband into a correctional facility, Boise police said, adding that his most recent sentence was set to end in 2036.

Meanwhile, police have charged Umphenour with aggravated battery against law enforcement and one charge of aiding and abetting an escapee.

Meade and Umphenour were both housed at an Idaho maximum security institution from December 2020 to January 2024 and at times shared the same housing unit, KVTB reported.

In a press conference on Thursday, police announced that the two men were arrested in Twin Falls after a short vehicle pursuit. “They were taken into custody without shots,” police said.

“We found the vehicle they escaped [in] in northern Idaho, and they took another vehicle,” police added. They also said they were investigating two homicides involving “adult males” that were “potentially tied to this incident”.

Speaking at the conference, Tewalt said the Aryan Knights “are one of multiple security threat groups that we monitor and try to interrupt their activities.” Tewalt said Meade and Umphenour’s “gang involvement does not necessarily indicate that this was some sort of gang-sanctioned event”.

The investigation remains under way with a “good chance” of prosecution in several different locations, police said.

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