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Search continues for escaped inmate and accomplice after ambush at Boise hospital

Mar 20, 2024, 8:12 AM | Updated: Mar 21, 2024, 9:38 am

Nicholas Umphenour (left) and Skylar Meade (right), the suspects wanted following a shooting at Sai...

Nicholas Umphenour (left) and Skylar Meade (right), the suspects wanted by police following a shooting at Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise, ID. (Boise Police Department)

(Boise Police Department)

(CNN) — A manhunt is underway after an Idaho inmate escaped custody during an early Wednesday morning ambush at a Boise area hospital that left three corrections officers wounded, authorities say.

Related: Utah history shows inmates in transit can be a security challenge

The attack and escape happened at Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center as inmate Skylar Meade was being discharged from the hospital just after 2 a.m. MT and another person began shooting, Josh Tewalt, director of the Idaho Department of Correction, said at an afternoon news conference.

Boise Police Department Chief Ron Winegar called the shooting “brazen” and a “coordinated attack.”

Corrections officers were preparing to take Meade back to the Idaho Maximum Security Institution – about 11 miles away – when “an unknown suspect attacked and fired at the officers, striking two of them,” Winegar said.

Meade and the suspected shooter got into a gray four-door sedan, a 2020 Honda Civic, and fled the area just before police officers arrived, according to the chief.

The third corrections officer was wounded by gunfire from a responding police officer, who believed the shooter was inside the emergency department and saw an armed individual near the door, officials said.

One of the officers wounded by the suspect is in critical but stable condition, according to the chief. The other two have non-life-threatening injuries, he said.

The alleged shooter was identified in a police news release Wednesday evening as Nicholas Umphenour. He is accused of aggravated battery against law enforcement and aiding and abetting an escape, according to the release.

Police are asking the public to keep an eye out for the vehicle – and call police or 911 if spotted – but not to engage with the suspects.

“They are dangerous, they are armed and they have shown a propensity for violence,” Winegar cautioned during the news conference.

Meade was sentenced in October 2016 for aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer with a firearm, has many prior convictions, and is a documented gang member with ties to the Aryan Knights, Winegar said. He was due to be released in 2036.

Tewalt said Meade went to the hospital Tuesday night.

“He engaged in what I would describe a self-injurious behavior,” the corrections director told reporters, adding Meade had been in a part of the prison segregated from the general prison population.

“He was evaluated by our on-site medical and they made the determination that he need to be transported off site for emergent care.”

Meade was at the hospital from 9:50 p.m. to 2:08 a.m., Tewalt said.

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Search continues for escaped inmate and accomplice after ambush at Boise hospital