COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho — An armed man was shot by police at Coeur d’Alene City Park as tens of thousands of people flocked to the area for the annual fireworks show.
The man, identified as Tyler Rambo, was shot multiple times by police after he allegedly fired shots at officers. He was taken to Kootenai Health and is in critical condition at last check.
People in the area reached out to KREM or posted updates about the shooting on social media, with some describing the scene as “terrifying.”
KREM reporter Nicole Hernandez and photojournalist Al Lozano spoke with witnesses Tyler Henkle and Chase Russell on Friday morning, who shared their experience.
Some witnesses said that they mistook the gunshots for firecrackers.
“This happened right behind us and we didn’t even realize it was a shooting. We thought someone had lit off firecrackers until we saw all the cops run over and saw a post on Facebook that a shooting had occurred,” North Idaho resident Hollee Warren wrote on Facebook.
“Most people that I saw at first were just oblivious to it like it was fireworks,” Henkle explained. “But I know the difference between a gun and fireworks. As soon as I heard the crackle of a gun at the end, I was like, ‘Time to go.’”
"As soon as I saw this guy hit the ground, my adrenaline went through the roof and I took off running and my heart was just racing," he continued. “The first thing that went through my mind was there’s a ton of little kids around here and we need to get them the hell out of here."
Henkle said he scooped up a woman’s two young children and ran alongside of her after the shooting.
“I was just holding their glasses and running for dear life. I ran probably a good five-and-a-half miles to my friend’s house up on Northwest Boulevard,” he added.
Watch the full RAW interview with Henkle and Russell below:
Other witnesses addressed their gratitude on social media for the quick response from Coeur d’Alene Police officers.
“Cda [sic] police department, you guys are amazing. Running towards the sound of gunfire while myself and my children were running away. I will never get that image out of my mind,” wrote viewer Katie Brown on the KREM 2 Facebook page.
“Glad our police were there to keep everyone safe,” another KREM viewer wrote on Facebook.
Parents and other witnesses expressed sadness for the children who were present and saw the horrifying scene.
“Me and my friends were about 20 feet from him when he fired and was gunned down. Scary and so sad for the families near us that had to witness it,” Gabrielle Aparicio wrote on the KREM 2 Facebook page.
KREM reporter Casey Decker also spoke with parents who were at City Park when the shooting happened.
"My son and I and my husband and a friend of ours were sitting over at the sea wall by the stairs. He came over here and the first shots were fired over here by the Porta Potties," Tabatha Van Meer said.
"My son was in the Porta Potty that the bullets came towards. I flipped. My son, my 19-year-old, ran towards the danger," she continued. "He was trying to get his brother before any of us. He could weave in and out faster."
A group of men also told Decker that they also heard the gunshot from near the Porta Potties, grabbed the kids they were with and ran to a nearby tree for cover. Police then told them to run, so they ran across the street until the scene cleared.
Others were grateful that they left the area before the shooting happened.
“I’m sick to my stomach. There was a shooting in Coeur d’Alene after the fireworks show & we were there earlier,” one Twitter user wrote. “We seriously left an hour before the show because Lennon was getting restless & I’m so glad we did – the universe looked out for us.”
Henkle said he was still shaken up a day after the shooting.
“It still gets my hurt running to come back down here. It kind of scares me to come back down here honestly," he said.
The Coeur d’Alene Police Department is expected to release more information about the shooting at a news conference scheduled for 2:30 p.m. on Friday.