A deadly police shooting in North Idaho occurred just after two Montana fugitives rammed an Idaho State Police car, authorities said Tuesday.
Christie Ann Little, 40, was pronounced dead at Kootenai Medical Center on Monday after being shot while a passenger in a Jeep Cherokee driven by Mark Marion Maykopet, 24, of Butte.
Maykopet also was shot but was released from the hospital and jailed on $1.5 million bond after appearing before Kootenai County District Judge Scott Wayman on Tuesday.
Investigators released few details about the shooting and haven't said why the trooper felt the need to use deadly force.
Charges filed against Maykopet allege he rammed Cpl. Dan Howard's patrol car during a police chase.
Kootenai County Sheriff's Lt. Stu Miller said he could not confirm that Howard is the trooper who fired the shots, but authorities said previously that the trooper who fired shots did so after the Jeep collided with his patrol car.
The trooper is on paid leave as the Kootenai County Sheriff's Department investigates the shooting, Miller said.
Maykopet, alias Mark Marion Macy, has had a felony warrant out for his arrest since he walked away from a halfway house in Helena in October, according to the Montana Department of Corrections.
Little had been wanted in Butte since failing to show up for a court hearing in October regarding a felony forgery charge, said Kelli Fivey, deputy attorney for Silver Bow County, Mont.
The relationship between Little and Maykopet was unclear.
A state trooper stopped the Jeep for a traffic infraction about 7 p.m. Monday on U.S. Highway 95 at East Ohio Match Road, south of the Garwood area.
The trooper talked to Maykopet and Little, but the Jeep took off as the trooper was approaching again, leading to a short pursuit that ended with shots fired at Ramsey Road, south of Highway 53.
The trooper fired multiple shots at the Jeep, which went about 100 yards before he and a backup officer arrested the suspects.
A native of Butte, Little served time in state prison for theft convictions in 1998 and 1999. She was sent to federal prison in 2006 for wire fraud and identity theft convictions. She was released in March 2008 but returned for seven months beginning in November 2009 after failing to show up for a drug test and failing to attend mental health counseling.
Maykopet was booked into jail on felony charges of eluding a police officer, aggravated assault and being a fugitive from justice for a Montana warrant.
"As far as I can tell, he has no ties to the local community," said Kootenai County Deputy Prosecutor Ken Brooks.
In addition to the escape warrant, Maykopet is wanted on a $1,000 warrant in Livingston, Mont., for not paying fines for misdemeanor convictions for drug paraphernalia, public intoxication and obstructing an officer in November 2009, said Kara Bailey, Livingston City Court judge.
Maykopet was born in Tacoma and was convicted in Washington of car theft in 2002. He was given a three-year deferred sentence for a 2007 felony theft conviction in Flathead County, Mont., which meant the charge would be dismissed if he kept out of trouble for three years. But that sentence was revoked after Maykopet was charged with misdemeanor domestic assault, and he was given a five-year suspended sentence to serve on top of a 10-year suspended sentence for felony convictions in 2008 for drugs and issuing bad checks.
Suspended sentences mean no jail time but supervised probation and a permanent criminal conviction. Maykopet apparently had trouble with his probation and spent two months in a detention program, according to the DOC. He was sent to the halfway house in Helena on Oct. 1 and disappeared the same day, said Bob Anez, spokesman for the Montana Department of Corrections.
In court on Tuesday, Maykopet told his public defender, Brad Chapman, that he hasn't been able to contact Little's family.
"What do I have to do to go bury her?" Maykopet said.
Wayman, the judge, set Maykopet's bond for the assault and eluding charge at $750,000 after Brooks requested $500,000. He also implemented $750,000 bond for the escape charge.
McClatchy-Tribune News Service