Boise police say suspects of ambush, shooting at hospital are linked to two homicides

Two suspects were placed in custody in relation to an ambush at a hospital early Wednesday morning that left three Department of Correction officers with gunshot wounds, Boise police said Thursday.

Police in a news conference said they believed these suspects, one of whom was a prisoner who escaped after the shooting, are also connected to two Idaho homicides that occurred in the past 24 hours.

In the early hours of Wednesday morning, IDOC officers were preparing to transport Skylar Meade, 31, from Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in the Boise Bench back to prison. Officers were attacked and fired on by an unknown suspect, whom police later identified as Nicholas Umphenour, 28. The two fled in a vehicle before law enforcement arrived on the scene and were found and arrested Thursday afternoon, police said.

A third IDOC officer was shot by Boise police, the agency said. All three officers were treated for their injuries and in stable condition, authorities said. Idaho State Police issued a Blue Alert for Meade on Wednesday, a statewide alert used for suspects at large who injured law enforcement and are believed to be public threats.

Boise Police Chief Ron Winegar said at a news conference Thursday afternoon that both suspects were arrested following a short vehicle pursuit around 2 p.m. near the Twin Falls area and taken into custody separately.

“There were no shots fired or extensive use of force in this operation,” Winegar said.

IDOC Director Josh Tewalt said Umphenour and Meade were intermittently housed together in prison from December 2020 to January 2024, when Umphenour was released, and had mutual acquaintances outside of prison. Both were members of the Aryan Knights, an Idaho-based prison gang with white supremacist ideology, Tewalt said.

Homicides in North Idaho connected to suspects

Idaho State Police was assigned to investigate the homicides of two men that took place in rural North Idaho in connection with these suspects. Police declined to provide further details on the homicides and said law enforcement was still on the scene actively investigating them.

State police said they believe the suspects “fled northbound from the Treasure Valley to north-central Idaho.” Detectives found the Honda Civic that the suspects initially escaped in near Leland, according to police, about 40 minutes northeast of Lewiston.

One victim was found in Nez Perce County and the other in Clearwater County, police said. The Clearwater County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release that deputies found a man dead around 8 p.m. Wednesday after someone called for a welfare check.

The suspects were several hours out of Clearwater County when we received the call,” the Sheriff’s Office said.

A pair of shackles that police believe Meade was wearing when he escaped were found at the scene of one of the homicides, Idaho State Police Lt. Col. Sheldon Kelley said at the news conference.

The Nez Perce Sheriff’s Office declined to comment and directed the Idaho Statesman to Idaho State Police.

The coroners for Clearwater and Nez Perce counties are expected to identify the victims.

“Law enforcement believes the capture was successful due to the hundreds of tips from the public and the multiple responding law enforcement agencies,” state police said.

Anyone with additional information on the incident is asked to contact a Statewide Tip Line at 1-833-610-1026.