Agencies team up to catch suspect

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BONNERS FERRY — On Nov. 19, multiple agencies came together to apprehend Alex O’Connor, who ran from a stopped vehicle near the top of the North Hill of Highway 95 around 3:15 p.m.

“Idaho State Police Corporal Kralik was making a traffic stop on the North Hill, and then he radioed that he needed backup, that one of the individuals in the car had fled on foot and he was heading up towards the landfill,” explained Boundary County Sheriff Dave Kramer.

All available law enforcement on duty immediately responded to the call.

“We got an early description of the suspect,” said Kramer. “He had also provided Kralik a false name at first. We were able to determine another possible identity of the person which showed he had an outstanding warrant- no bond.”

U.S. Border Patrol helped track O’Connor to the area of the Boundary County Landfill. Law enforcement located an area they believed O’Connor may be hiding in, a large wood pile in the landfill, filled with debris and contained by high walls.

“Instead of sending officers into that area, for safety, I contacted Scott Lindsey who I knew had a drone,” said Kramer. “His drone was down but he knew someone else who had one. He went over and borrowed that drone and brought it up. We flew it over the landfill, to try and look in that area before we risked putting officers in that area.”

North Bench Fire Chief Gus Jackson also arrived, bringing thermal cameras to search for heat signatures.

The Border Patrol Agents were instrumental in helping to track O’Connor, noticing a change in his direction around 7 p.m., as well as aiding with maintaining a perimeter watch.

“They are trained in tracking and stuff, so that was a great asset,” said Kramer. “At one point they determined from the tracks that he had left the landfill area and had a general direction, so that kind of refocused the areas that we were watching.”

Bonners Ferry City Police helping with the perimeter watch, began notifying people in the surrounding neighborhood.

According to the police report, at 8:09 p.m., an employee at the 3 Mile Store contacted Boundary County Sheriff’s Dispatch, reporting that a person matching O’Connor’s description had been at their location and acting suspicious.

Bonners Ferry Police Sergeant Willie Cowell informed dispatch that he was on scene, according to the police report, and U.S. Border Protection District Agent Dave Grainger arrived approximately a minute later. O’Connor then exited the building.

“As I drove around the east side of the 3 Mile Store, the suspect whom I was able to identify from Sheriff’s Office Records, was walking south at a fast pace around the east side of the store,” wrote Cowell in the police report. “When O’Connor saw me, he began running around the south side of the 3 Mile Store and I maneuvered the patrol vehicle pursuing the fleeing suspect.”

According to the police report, O’Connor was intercepted by two additional Border Patrol Agents and he ran back into the 3 Mile Store through the south entrance, went through the cafe, and out the west exit. U.S. Border Patrol Protection District Agent Matt Phelps led the pursuit on foot.

“Just as I was starting to pull into 3 Mile, I saw that the pursuit was just starting to begin, with the suspect fleeing across the street,” said Kramer.

O’Connor sprinted across Highway 95, through an opening in a chain link fence, and into the Idaho Shed Center area, with Phelps gaining on him.

“I caught up with Border Patrol Agents within the Idaho Shed Center perimeter, Agent Phelps and two other Agents tackled O’Connor to the ground,” wrote Cowell in the police report.

“I joined the other officers, Border Patrol, and Officer Cowell, as we chased the suspect into the Shed Center located across the street and came up on them just after they had taken him into custody and contained on the ground,” said Kramer. “Then he was arrested without incident from there.”

According to the police report, O’Connor initially denied being wanted. After it was explained to him that he was able to be identified due to existing records and photographs, and that they were aware of his felony warrant, issued for his parole violation, he admitted to law enforcement who he was and that he ran because he knew he was wanted.

“He has a lengthy criminal history,” said Kramer about O’Connor.

O’Connor was arrested for his warrant, but also charged with resisting or obstructing a peace officer, possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, and failure to appear, which is being handled by the Idaho State Police as the primary agency that first initiated the stop.

“It was just great teamwork, both through law enforcement agencies and the public getting involved,” said Kramer. “Like anything that happens in our area, we rely on all the law enforcement agencies and the public. Just working in partnership is how we can help resolve a situation like this.”

“Everyone came together to try and resolve this and get the person into custody,” said Kramer. “I am thankful for the cooperation of all agencies involved.”

Kramer would like remind the community to always keep doors locked, not just on houses, but also on garages and sheds. Also to not leave keys in vehicles as this would allow someone in this situation an easy access to a vehicle.

“We are in a good area,” said Kramer, “but it is still a good idea.”

O’Connor is scheduled to appear for a pretrial hearing on Dec. 14 at 1:30 p.m. and a jury trial on Dec. 19 at 9 a.m.

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