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

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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.

“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 the suspect is in critical but stable condition, while the second officer shot by the suspect 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. 

“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 the unknown suspect 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.

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. He is considered armed and dangerous, and residents are advised not to approach him but to instead call 911 or the Ada County Dispatch at 208-377-6790.

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