Watch CBS News

Manhunt underway after 3 Idaho corrections officers ambushed and shot while taking inmate out of medical center

Gunman shoots officers during inmate's escape
Search on for gunman who ambushed, shot Idaho officers during inmate's escape 01:48

Three corrections officers were ambushed and shot early Wednesday while taking an inmate back to prison from a medical center in Boise, Idaho, officials said. The inmate and shooter are believed to have escaped together, triggering a manhunt.

The Idaho Department of Correction officers transported inmate Skylar Meade to Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center on Tuesday night, the City of Boise said in a news release. As they were preparing to leave with Meade at 2:15 a.m. local time, an unknown suspect attacked and fired at the officers, striking two of them. 

A third person, later determined to be a corrections officer, was shot by responding Boise police officers.

Boise Police detectives on Wednesday afternoon identified the shooting suspect as Nicholas Umphenour.

"A preliminary investigation indicates Meade and the shooting suspect got into a grey four-door sedan and fled the area just prior to Boise Police officers arriving," the news release said.

One officer shot by Umphenour is in critical but stable condition, while the second officer shot by Umphenour has serious but non-life-threatening injuries, officials said. The third officer injured by police gunfire sustained non-life-threatening injuries.

Meade engaged in "self-injurious" behavior Tuesday night, after which officers determined he needed to be transferred off-site for care, Josh Tewalt, director of the state's Department of Correction, said at a Wednesday news conference. 

An updated photo of suspect Skylar Meade.  Boise Police Department

"We believe this was a coordinated attack or ambush … to free him from custody," Boise Police Chief Ron Winegar said, adding that they've received dozens of leads. 

The hospital was locked down while police searched for the suspects. A manhunt is now underway across the Treasure Valley to find Umphenour and 31-year-old Meade, who is a documented member of the white supremacist gang the Aryan Knights and has many prior convictions, according to Winegar. 

Meade had been incarcerated since October 2016 for aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer with a firearm enhancement. His most recent sentence was set to end in 2036, according to a news release.

The shooting suspect, Nicholas Umphenour. Boise Police Department

Meade, who has a series of distinctive tattoos on his face and body, is approximately 5 feet 6 inches and weighs 150 lbs, officials said. 

Detectives described Umphenour as being 5-foot-11 and about 160 pounds, with brown hair and hazel eyes. Officers have obtained a warrant for Umphenour's arrest. The warrant has a $2 million bond. 

The vehicle in which the suspects escaped is believed to be a gray 2020 Honda Civic with license plate 2TDF43U. Both men are considered armed and dangerous, and residents are advised not to approach them but to instead call 911 or the Ada County Dispatch at 208-377-6790.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.