The Idaho gunman who went on a killing spree might have planned his crime in advance. His getaway vehicle contained multiple firearms as well as a laptop, which may offer valuable clues in understanding the intentions and the crime itself.
John Lee, 29, killed three people in cold blood and critically wounded another during a shooting spree in the northern Idaho city of Moscow. After his arrest, police seized his vehicle, and upon its inspection, found an arsenal of assault weapons apart from the gun that the gunman primarily preferred. Lee was apprehended in Idaho after the shootings mainly because he couldn’t manage to steer his vehicle properly and crashed.
Inside the gunman’s Honda Fit, authorities found three handguns, a shotgun, and a rifle. Police also recovered a laptop from John’s car. Moscow Police Chief David Duke is confident that authorities who will eventually end up investigating the case will appeal to search the laptop for clues and evidence. So far, the motive behind the multiple fatal shootings hasn’t been known, but the pattern may offer some baseline conclusions.
Though the shootings happened in quick succession, John traveled extensively to each location in his car, before specifically targeting his victims. The gunman made sure he was aiming correctly before pulling the trigger. A resident of Idaho City itself, it is believed, John first killed his adoptive mother, 61-year-old Terri Grzebielski at her home, before embarking on the killing spree.
The targets were quite dispersed in Idaho City. Hence John chose to drive down in his Honda Fit. He even carefully packed his arsenal of guns, ensuring he had enough ammunition and firepower to take down his helpless and unarmed victims.
After murdering his mother, the gunman drove to Northwest Mutual life insurance building. There he targeted his landlord, 76-year-old David Trail. However, in the probable skirmish that ensued, Lee is said to have critically injured 39-year-old Michael Chin who was in the landlord’s office at that time. Lee took another drive — before the Idaho City police had got wind of the killing spree Lee had embarked on — to kill a 47-year-old woman, identified as Belinda Niebuhr, manager of the restaurant.
While it is not immediately clear, circumstantial evidence suggests the gunman was having “some issues” with his apartment. Belinda happened to be the manager of the hotel, where Lee’s parents frequented. Authorities are hoping the items recovered from his car, including the laptop, could hold important clues about solving the multiple homicide.
Very little is known about John Lee, expect for the fact that he was adopted at birth and that he recently returned to Moscow after living for a few years in the Midwest. Incidentally, Moscow is a small city with a population of just 25,000 in Northern Idaho. It is quite understandable how the city must have been affected by the gunman.
[Image Credit | NBC, Whitman County Sheriff’s Office]