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Hospital video captures armed escape of Idaho white supremacist prison gang member from hospital


Associated Press

Security video captured most of an ambush at an Idaho hospital that left three corrections officers with gunshot wounds and allowed a white supremacist prison gang member to escape, a police detective testified Monday.

The testimony from Matthew Canfield, a violent crimes detective with the Boise Police Department, came during a preliminary hearing for Skylar Meade, the inmate charged with escaping from a hospital last month when an accomplice opened fire on guards who had been transporting him back to prison.

Nicholas Umphenour, who police say did the shooting, and Tia Garcia, who is accused of having provided the car the pair used to escape, had their preliminary hearings set for April 29.

Prosecutors did not play the surveillance video in court but submitted it as an exhibit. Magistrate Judge Abraham Wingrove found that there was enough evidence to send the case against Meade to district court. His arraignment was set for April 17.

Video clips show three Department of Correction officers escorting Meade to the prison transport van from the emergency department when they “are approached by another individual who appears to point an object at them and shoot and fire rounds at them,” Canfield said.

The video also shows Meade and the shooter running to a parked vehicle, which they used to flee, Canfield said.

Part of the encounter is blocked by the prison transport van itself, Canfield said.

Investigators have also obtained video from a private ambulance that was parked in the emergency bay during the escape.

The attack on the corrections officers came just after 2 a.m. on March 20 in the ambulance bay of Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center. Meade was brought to the hospital earlier in the night because he injured himself, officials said, but he refused treatment upon arrival.

Two corrections officers were wounded in the attack and a third was shot by responding police officers who mistook him for the gunman. All are expected to recover.

Meade and Umphenour are each being held on $2 million bail. Authorities said they are also suspected of killing two men during their 36 hours on the run — one in Clearwater County and one in Nez Perce County, both about a seven-hour drive north of where they were arrested in Twin Falls, Idaho. No charges have been filed in the deaths.

The victims have been identified as James L. Mauney, 83, of Juliaetta, Idaho, who was reported missing when he failed to return from walking his dogs, and Gerald Don Henderson, 72, who was found dead outside his remote cabin near Orofino, Idaho.

Henderson had taken in Umphenour for about a month when he was in his late teens, according to authorities. Police said Umphenour and Meade stole Mauney’s minivan and used it to get to the Twin Falls area.

Idaho Department of Correction officials have said Meade and Umphenour are members of the Aryan Knights white supremacist prison gang, which federal prosecutors have described as a “scourge” in the state’s penitentiary system.

Meade, 31, was serving 20 years at the Idaho Maximum Security Institution in Kuna, south of Boise, for shooting at a sheriff’s sergeant during a chase. Umphenour was released from the same lockup in January after serving time for theft and gun convictions.

The two were at times housed together and had mutual friends in and out of prison, officials said. Meade recently had been held in solitary confinement because officials deemed him a security risk.

One other person has been charged in connection with the escape: Tonia Huber, who was driving the truck Meade was in when he was arrested, according to investigators. Huber has been charged with harboring a fugitive, eluding police and drug possession.


Thiessen reported from Anchorage, Alaska.

Article Topic Follows: AP National News

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