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Off-duty Fish and Game officer helped fend off New Meadows shootout suspect

When conservation officer Randy Martinez heard gunshots, he grabbed a handgun from his own vehicle and ran toward the shootout.
Credit: IDFG
Conservation officer Randy Martinez

NEW MEADOWS, Idaho — The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is praising one of their own officers who recently jumped into action to help capture a wanted man who was firing a rifle at deputies, according to officials.

The suspect, 24-year-old William Pearle James, was arrested Saturday after a week-long manhunt on two counts of aggravated assault and two counts of assault with intent to commit a serious felony.

The manhunt started March 29 after James' mother called the Adams County Sheriff's Office, telling them that her son was on her property in New Meadows in violation of a protection order. 

RELATED: Police: Man who fired at deputies likely still in New Meadows area

When the deputies arrived on scene, according to court documents, James began firing at them with a rifle from an outbuilding on the property. 

Credit: Adams County Sheriff's Office
Booking photo of William James.

According to Fish and Game, off-duty conservation officer Randy Martinez was unloading construction material at a friend's house nearby when he heard the gunshots. The two Adams County Sheriff's deputies, Nikki Sauerland and Randall Benavides, were pinned down behind their patrol car, which had been struck by multiple rifle rounds.

Martinez grabbed a handgun out of his own vehicle, jumped over the highway boundary fence and headed for a ditch next to the property. The officer saw James moving towards the deputies, still shooting in their direction. 

RELATED: New Meadows shootout suspect in custody

At that point, according to Fish and Game, Martinez fired several rounds at James, prompting the suspect to stop firing, turn and run. Martinez moved west along Highway 55, trying to keep James in sight. He stopped a responding Valley County deputy before the deputy reached the potential line of fire, then helped evacuate a nearby house. 

The shooting drew response from multiple agencies, including other officers from the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. James, who authorities warned residents should be considered "armed and dangerous" was able to evade capture over the next week. 

The suspect was ultimately caught on Saturday when he returned to the property where the shootout happened. He is currently held in the Adams County Jail.

Fish and Game commended Martinez for his quick response to help the deputies under fire.

"Officer Randy Martinez is a 17-year veteran of the Department of Fish and Game and continues to devote his career to the preservation, protection and perpetuation of Idaho's fish and wildlife resources," the department wrote in a release. "As a sworn peace officer, he also takes seriously his duty to protect the citizens of Idaho."

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