PAYETTE -- Idaho State Police continue to investigate an officer-involved shooting outside a Payette convenience store Thursday afternoon.
ISP spokeswoman Teresa Baker says one person was critically wounded and a Payette County Sheriff's deputy was shot in the leg during a gunfight at the Maverik Country Store at 275 N. 16th Street in Payette.
It all started around 2:10 p.m., when Ontario Police say a driver of a blue passenger car fired a single shot from a handgun into the air near May Robert Grade School, which is in the 400 block of NW 8th Street in Ontario.
Ontario Police say the driver did not point the gun at anyone or at anything. They also say that students at May Roberts School were not in danger, and the school did not go into a lockdown. However, traffic from the school was diverted for some time to allow investigators search of evidence.
A witness contacted police giving them the description of the vehicle and license plate information, which was then given to local law enforcement, in addition to those in the surrounding area.
Mark Clark, Payette Chief of Police, says the Payette County Sheriff's deputy was responding to the attempt-to-locate call, and that the deputy called for backup when he spotted the vehicle at the Maverik store gas pump.
The police chief says as the deputy asked the driver to get out of the vehicle, the suspect started shooting. The deputy and 24-year-old Fruitland man exchanged gunfire.
[The deputy] started giving the driver commands to get out of the vehicle. He was not complying with the deputy, Clark said. Within a few minutes of giving the commands, the suspect came out of the car, started shooting at the deputy multiple times. The deputy returned fire, and the deputy was struck in the leg with a non-life threatening bullet wound, and the suspect was also shot in the exchange of gun fire.
Witnesses reported hearing multiple shots fired over 10 to 15 seconds.
We actually heard shots fired, several rounds, and we looked out the window. It sounded like firecrackers. We looked out there and there was an officer with his weapon drawn and a gentleman on the ground, Amber Swann, who works across the street, said.
I heard five or six gunshots, what I counted. Hard to tell, five or six. Seemed like four of them were in a row. The other one or two were earlier, but all within a few seconds of each other, Rich Hanna, who lives about a block away, said.
Witnesses said they saw a child, likely a little boy between the ages of 4- and 8-years-old, carried by an officer from the scene. Police said they could not confirm anything about the child. Clark did mention a child possibly involved in the earlier situation in Ontario.
We understand that happened over there near a school zone, and possibly it had something to do with him picking up his child. To that extent, we don't know any other details at this point, Clark said.
Baker says the critically wounded man was flown by air ambulance to Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise. The deputy was struck in the leg, and does not appear to have a life-threatening injury.
Clark says there are bullet holes in the Maverik storefront, and a couple witnesses say they were nearly hit, though no one else was injured.
The store was absolutely full of people. It's usually one of the busiest places in town. I understand that during the gun fight, there were a couple people that had a couple near misses, and we do have bullet holes in the store windows and in the front door, Clark said.
Principal Kipp McKenzie of the nearby Payette Primary School says they did go on lockdown around 2:20 p.m. for about 15 minutes due to the incident at the Maverik. All the students are okay, and school buses ran on schedule to take the students home.