MERIDIAN, Idaho (AP) — Idaho authorities say three people, including two residents and a man believed to be the suspect, have died after an armed prowler hid inside an Idaho home that burned to the ground a few minutes later.
The body of a person believed to be the suspect was found just inside the home, close to the area where he’d been shot at by deputies responding to the 911 call about a prowler late Wednesday night, Ada County Sheriff Stephen Bartlett said.
The body of an elderly woman who lived at the home was also found in the burned wreckage on Thursday. The other two adults who lived at the home were able to escape the flames Wednesday night, but one was badly burned. That person died at a regional burn center in Salt Lake City on Thursday afternoon, Bartlett said.
“This is a sad day for the family and our community,” Bartlett said during a news conference Thursday.
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Bartlett said someone living at the home called 911 about 10:30 p.m. Wednesday to report that someone was trying to get into the rural house.
“As deputies were responding to the call, the call was enhanced and we found out the person banging on the door was not only banging, but had a gun in their possession,” Bartlett said. “The family was extremely fearful and afraid for their wellbeing.”
Deputies arrived at the home when the suspect prowler was by the door, and two of them shot at the man. He retreated inside the home, and shortly after the home caught fire.
“It was a matter of just minutes when the entire home was burning,” Bartlett said.
The deputies tried to get the residents out of the home, but they were only able to help two of the three living there exit the structure, he said. The residents of the home didn’t know the suspect, and authorities are still trying to identify the remains.
Officials are also trying to determine how the fire started.
“We located a significant amount of gasoline here on the scene. But as to the igniter, the cause of the fire … we’ll leave that to the fire marshal,” he said.
The names of the people who lived at the home have not yet been released.
The regional Critical Incident Task Force, led by the Boise Police Department, is leading the investigation because it includes an officer-involved shooting by the Ada County deputies.