No Charges Against Deputy in Gooding County Shooting

2014-03-05T10:00:00Z No Charges Against Deputy in Gooding County ShootingTimes-News Twin Falls Times-News
March 05, 2014 10:00 am  • 

TWIN FALLS - A Gooding County deputy acted appropriately when he shot a woman who had allegedly just shot her boyfriend, Twin Falls County Prosecutor Grant Loebs said.

Loebs investigated the shooting in conjunction with the Magic Valley Critical Incident Task Force.

The incident happened Feb. 2 in Bliss at the conclusion of a high-speed chase.

"I have carefully analyzed the report prepared by the Critical Incident Task Force and have concluded that no criminal charges should be filed against any of the law enforcement officers involved in this incident," Loebs said in a press release Tuesday.

The report by the task force included interviews with officers, the injured passenger, videos of the incident and various documents and lab reports.

Loebs summarized the incident in the release:

In the early hours of Feb. 2, Mountain Home Police stopped a blue 2010 Nissan Xterra for having a headlight out.

During the traffic stop the driver fled in the vehicle. As officers pursued on Interstate 84, the Nissan accelerated to more than 100 mph.

At one point, the Elmore County Sheriff's Office took over the chase, pursuing the Nissan into Gooding County at speeds well in excess of 100 mph.

The Nissan exited from the freeway into Bliss, still traveling more than 100 mph. An Elmore County deputy followed while a Gooding County deputy approached from the west.

The Nissan turned into the parking lot of the Y-Inn motel on U.S. 30 in Bliss. Gooding and Elmore county deputies surrounded the Nissan.

Ronald Rice, 40, of Colorado Springs, Colo., emerged from the passenger side with his hands up. Almost immediately, Rice was shot in the abdomen by the driver, Hollee Johnston, 39, also of Colorado Springs.

Johnston refused deputies' orders to drop the weapon, briefly turned the pistol toward herself, then aimed it at deputies.

At that point, a Gooding County deputy fired three shots, hitting Johnston once in the abdomen.

Rice and Johnston were both taken to a hospital.

"Based on the facts detailed in this investigation," Loebs said, "I conclude that the Gooding County sheriff's deputy acted justifiably in self-defense and in defense of others when he shot Ms. Johnston."

Rice, 40, is being held at the Ada County Jail, said Gooding County Sheriff Shaun Gough. After being released from the hospital, Rice was arrested on Ada County charges including grand theft, two counts of burglary, unlawful possession of a weapon by a convicted felon, theft by receiving stolen property and a fugitive warrant, all felonies, and misdemeanor malicious injury to property and petit theft.

Online court records show Johnston was arraigned in Ada County Court on felony charges of theft by receiving stolen property, grand theft and burglary. She was also arraigned on misdemeanor counts of malicious injury to property and petit theft. Her bail was set at $1 million. A preliminary hearing is scheduled March 18.

Gooding County Sheriff Shaun Gough said Tuesday Johnston has been charged with aggravated battery for the Gooding County shooting.

Friday, Gough said, deputies received a tip that Johnston is a suspect in two Las Vegas, Nev. bank robberies.

Gooding County deputies are working with Las Vegas authorities on those cases.

Look for updates on this story on Magicvalley.com.

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