An Idaho sheriff’s deputy is alive today after his bulletproof vest was struck by bullets allegedly fired at close range by a 27-year-old fugitive who reportedly is a white supremacist with ties to the neo-Nazi Hammerskins.
That deputy and another officer, whose names were not released, were shot on Oct. 23 in Canyon County in southern Idaho after attempting to arrest suspect Kyle Alan Batt of Caldwell, Idaho. Batt remains hospitalized in serious condition in a Boise hospital with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head that ended a five-hour SWAT team standoff.
Investigators have been unable to interview Batt because of his condition, according to Nampa Police Sgt. Tim Randall, a spokesman for a multi-agency “critical incident task force” investigating the incident. Randall said he couldn’t disclose if the suspect was on life support or comatose.
After speaking with investigators, Randall also said he couldn’t comment on a report by the Anti-Defamation League that Batt “is a white supremacist with a large ‘white power’ tattoo stretched across his breastbone.” Randall said he had no idea when additional information about the shooting, including the deputies’ names, would be publicly released.
Batt “has connections with other white supremacists in the Nampa-Boise area, including members of the Hammerskins racist skinhead group,” the ADL reported this week on its blog without identifying the source of that information.
The Hammerskins are said to have an increased presence in southern Idaho, where they held their 2012 “Hammerfest,” the group’s annual white power music concert, in the Nampa-Boise area on Oct. 6, just 17 days before the deputies were shot.
Batt apparently attempted to take his own life after allegedly shooting and wounding two Canyon County sheriff’s deputies who had gone to his father’s residence in an attempt to arrest him for an assault earlier in the day involving his ex-girlfriend’s father.
As the two deputies approached the suspect’s father’s house, Batt ran out a side door, firing a handgun. One deputy was wounded and fell to the ground, only to be struck in the chest by other bullets fired by Batt as he ran by, Randall said.
“From what I know of it, yes, he was shot to the front of his vest as he lay on the ground,” Randall said when asked if the deputy was wearing protective gear.
The second deputy also was wounded, but returned fire, apparently striking Batt in the leg as he fled. Both deputies have been released from the hospital, but have not returned to work.
Batt was located about a quarter-mile away in the garage of a friend’s house, where a five-hour SWAT team standoff ended with the suspect shooting himself in the head with a handgun, Randall said. He didn’t know the caliber of the weapon or whether it was the same gun used to shoot the deputies.
Canyon County Chief Deputy Kieran Donahue told the Idaho Statesman that both deputies are lucky to be alive. “It’s God’s blessing,” said Donahue. “It could have been far worse.”