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ISP shooting suspect kidnapped Rathdrum woman

Published On: Dec 03 2012 10:06:30 AM CST
Updated On: Dec 04 2012 06:47:00 AM CST
Mitchell Lee Walck/Mark Mackenzie
RATHDRUM, Idaho -

Kootenai County Sheriff's deputies say the man suspected of shooting at an ISP trooper in Rathdrum Saturday morning later kidnapped a woman.

On Saturday, Mitchell Lee Walck, 57, ran a stop sign on Highway 41 in a stolen truck. He led troopers on a chase, ending on Bingham Street in Rathdrum.

Walck ditched the truck, ran up an embankment, firing several shots at a pursuing Idaho State Police officer, as he ran away from the scene.

"We are just out far away, maybe that's not as safe as being in town. I don't know," Rathdrum resident Brenda Galbraith said. She heard the helicopter and saw the police cars during the pursuit this weekend.

"The sheriff's office called and said there was an armed fugitive in your neighborhood so keep your doors locked and don't go outside," she added.

Galbraith was wary enough to have deputies check out the buildings in her backyard. Everything was safe, but she didn't know the terror that was going to unfold next door.

A woman called 9-1-1 on Sunday night to report that her sister-in-law, a 62-year-old Rathdrum resident, called her to say she was kidnapped by Walck.

"Yesterday we got a phone call from a lady saying her sister in law was kidnapped by him. She lives in the area," Lieutenant Stu Miller with the Kootenai County Sheriff's Department said.

According to the woman, Walck hid in her home after the pursuit. Neighbors say the woman is retired and lives by herself. At some point Walck forced her into her car at gunpoint and kidnapped her. She was later let out of the car, unharmed, in Glendive, MT., 11 hours away from Rathdrum.

"He probably hunkered in her house or on her property for some time Saturday," Miller said.

"She's only one house down from me. I could have been the next person," Galbraith said.

Deputies said Walck also stole two rifles from the woman's house, a 30-30 Winchester Rifle and a Mossberg .22 caliber rifle.

The victim is being escorted by deputies back to North Idaho.

Investigators say Walck is a transient going back and forth between Idaho and Montana and has ties to Pennsylvania. There are also reports that Walck has ties to the Aryan Nation and follows the Sovereign Citizen movement, which is a loose-knit group that believes they're no subject to state or federal laws. 

Local law enforcement officials say he may follow some of that ideology but there is no definitive proof of his ties to those groups.

Monday afternoon, the FBI field office in Seattle reported its Salt Lake City Division was assisting the Post Falls Police Department and Kootenai County Sheriff's Department in the search for Walck. Meanwhile, the sheriff's department obtained a warrant for Walck's arrest with a $1 million bond.

Walck was last seen driving the kidnapping victim's silver 2005 Subaru Forester, with Idaho license plate K230050. He was wearing jeans, two-tone cowboy boots, a long sleeve shirt under a blue or black jacket. Walck has also changed his appearance, shaving everything but his mustache and dying it and his hair black.

The Montana Department of Corrections reports that Walck was convicted of assaulting a police officer in Powell County and sentenced to 10 years in prison. He started his sentence on May 17, 2002 and was released on Oct. 31, 2011.

Deputies say Walck is armed and extremely dangerous. If you see him, call 9-1-1 and do not approach him.

The FBI is offering $20,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Walck.

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