Investigators say campground shooting involved off-duty cop

August 14, 2020 GMT

CHALLIS, Idaho (AP) — A central Idaho sheriff’s office says an off-duty police chief from northern Idaho was involved in a shooting that left a Boise man dead after an apparent campground dispute.

No charges have been filed in connection with the Aug. 1 shooting, which is still under investigation.

The Custer County Sheriff’s Office says deputies were called to the Tin Cup Campground around 10:30 that night for a reported shooting. There they found 73-year-old Russell Liddell of Boise, who had been shot and later died of his injuries.

The sheriff’s office said Liddell had reportedly confronted a group of 16 or 18 people at the campground and an argument broke out. The sheriff’s office said the “verbal altercation” resulted in shots being fired, and that one member of the group, Bonners Ferry Police Chief Brian Zimmerman, shot Liddell. The sheriff’s office has not clarified if anyone else is believed to have fired a weapon in the incident.

ADVERTISEMENT

Members of the group attempted life-saving measures on Liddell and traveled to an area with cellphone service so they could call 911, the sheriff’s office said. The Eastern Idaho Critical Incident Task Force is assisting in the investigation, which is still underway.

The Bonners Ferry Police Department released a statement Thursday on its Facebook page, saying Zimmerman returned fire after he was shot at.

“Chief Zimmerman made City administration aware of the incident shortly after it occurred and the City does not feel that administrative leave or other personnel action by the City of Bonners Ferry is necessary at this time as Chief Zimmerman’s actions were in no way related to his employment,” the agency wrote in the social media post.

Zimmerman didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from The Associated Press.

Liddell had served as U.S. Air Force intelligence officer and later worked for the state of Idaho before retiring, according to his obituary. Autopsy results have not yet been released.