MOSCOW, Idaho, May 20 — A gunman went on a shooting rampage in this quiet college town late Saturday night, killing a police officer and wounding a sheriff’s deputy and a civilian before taking refuge in a church.
Early today, SWAT units stormed the church and found the bodies of the gunman and another man, who was believed to be the church caretaker.
Officials had not released the identity of the shooter or the injured civilian as of this evening. They said they did not know the gunman’s motive.
Moscow is about 80 miles south of Spokane, Wash., and is home to 22,000 residents and the University of Idaho.
At a news conference today, David Duke, the assistant chief of the Moscow Police Department, said the shootings began about 11:30 p.m. Saturday when someone opened fire on the Latah County Courthouse, which houses the sheriff’s office.
The police said the shots may have been intended to draw people to the scene so the gunman could ambush them. Witnesses reported hearing dozens of shots.
“You could classify it as an ambush,” Chief Duke said. “All the information I have is that there was no return fire.”
Three dispatchers and two deputies who were inside the sheriff’s office escaped injury from the hail of bullets, which shattered windows and equipment and penetrated walls, Sheriff Wayne Rausch said.
Moscow police were notified at 11:31 p.m., and Officer Lee Newbill and another officer set off on foot for the courthouse from the police station about five blocks away.
Officer Newbill, a six-year veteran of the police force, died after being shot several times about a block from the courthouse. A sheriff’s deputy, Sgt. Brannon Jordan, was wounded when he went to Mr. Newbill’s aid. The civilian, whom the police did not identify, was believed to be a nearby resident who approached the scene to offer help, the police said.
Sergeant Jordan was reported in serious condition at the Moscow hospital with multiple gunshot wounds. The resident who was shot had undergone surgery and was in stable condition.
The Associated Press identified the second man found in the church as Paul Bauer, a caretaker believed to be in his 60s who lived at the church.
Chief Duke said the police did not return fire during the barrage because the shooter’s location was never established.
After the attack on the courthouse, the gunman fled to the First Presbyterian Church across the street from the sheriff’s department.
The police said that a single, muffled gunshot was heard about 1 a.m. from the church.
Officers responded from the Idaho State Police, Washington State Police, the Lewiston Police Department and from neighboring Pullman and Washington State University. Three SWAT units entered the church about 6 a.m. and found the two bodies in separate parts of the church.
The police suspect that the gunman killed Mr. Bauer and then killed himself.
Chief Duke said the gunman used an assault rifle, which was found with four empty magazines near his body.
Mayor Nancy Chaney said she had heard the gunshots from her home nearly a mile away.
“I knew it didn’t sound like fireworks, so I was trying to put it in context, and I was expecting a call,” Ms. Chaney said.
She was called by the police at 12:53 a.m. and asked to stay put until the situation became clearer. At 2 a.m., the mayor went to Gritman Memorial Hospital in Moscow, where she spent the night with families of the shooting victims.
John K. Fellman, who lives several blocks from the sheriff’s office, was walking his two dogs this morning when he approached the cordon of yellow police tape and an officer guarding the crime scene.
“It sounded like Falluja or something,” said Mr. Fellman, a faculty member at Washington State University, which is eight miles away.