Police have arrested a 23-year-old Wisconsin man in connection with the shooting of an Idaho State Police trooper.
Shawn W. Kerrigan of Milwaukee was arrested Sunday near a rest stop, about three miles from where trooper Steve Hobbs of Declo was shot 17 hours earlier during a routine traffic stop on I-84 near the Utah border.Hobbs was in serious condition Monday morning at McKay-Dee Hospital in Ogden where he was being treated for a gunshot wound in the chest, a nursing supervisor said.
Police said the car Hobbs stopped near the Idaho-Utah border apparently was stolen in Wisconsin on June 14.
There is little history of Idaho state troopers being shot. Richard Cade, director of the Idaho Department of Law Enforcement, said one was shot and killed in 1935. Three other officers have died in car crashes.
Investigators believe that when Hobbs approached the car the driver fired four shots from a 9mm pistol, said Jim Whitehead, chief of the Idaho Bureau of Investigation. One shot missed and two were deflected by a bulletproof vest Hobbs was wearing. One bullet entered under the right arm.
The scenario was reconstructed based on clothing the trooper was wearing and the fact that four 9mm casings were recovered two at the scene and two in the stolen car, Whitehead said.
The weapon used hasn't been found, he said.
Officials said Hobbs, despite his wounds, climbed back into his police cruiser and chased the suspect vehicle until he lost control of the car and drove into the median.
The car burst into flames and Hobbs was pulled from the wreckage by passing motorists, who drove the wounded lawman to nearby Snowville, Utah, where help was summoned, officials said.
Whitehead said he didn't get the names of the passing motorists who pulled the officer from his burning car. "We believe that Officer Hobbs probably would not have survived if it hadn't been for them," Whitehead said.
Police found a car at the Juniper Rest Stop on Sunday that matched descriptions from witnesses who saw the incident. The car was found with its driver's door open and the motor running.
Kerrigan was discovered after he stumbled upon Bureau of Land Management workers and told them he was thirsty and hitchhiking, Whitehead said.