POST FALLS, Idaho — Court documents detail what witnesses saw when a man randomly opened fire on people at a gas station and coffee stand in Post Falls on Wednesday.
Post Falls police identified the shooting suspect as 32-year-old Tisen W. Sterkel of Newport, Washington. Sterkel pulled up to Kokopelli Coffee, which is located in the parking lot of a gas station on Highway 41, and started randomly firing at cars at about 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, police said.
Two men were hurt in the shooting, including a victim who was shot in the neck but is expected to recover. Security footage from the gas station shows Sterkel aiming a rifle and eventually firing at people, court documents say.
Sterkel fled the scene after the shooting, police said. Shortly after, an armed carjacking was reported at Highway 53 and McGuire Road outside of Post Falls. Police learned that the suspect's original vehicle was abandoned near a home on Greensferry Road near Hayden Avenue and the suspect stole another vehicle, which he drove to the carjacking location.
As authorities arrived in the area, they saw a vehicle driving along the railroad tracks on Highway 53, according to the Kootenai County Sheriff's Office. The driver refused to stop and eluded authorities in a field between Pleasant View and McGuire Roads.
Kootenai County Sheriff's deputies found Sterkel driving the stolen vehicle and took him into custody without incident, Post Falls police said.
Sterkel is facing 12 charges in connection to the shooting including two counts of aggravated battery, two counts of aggravated assault, two counts of receiving or transferring stolen vehicle, robbery, two counts of unlawful entry-fleeing while being pursued, burglary, operating vehicle without owners permission and attempting to elude a police officer.
Sterkel admitted to shooting at people but did not know if he hit anyone, court documents say. During his first court appearance on Thursday, his bond was set at $2 million.
Below is a brief description of what happened during the shooting from several witnesses.
Witness 1: Woman at gas pump
Officers spoke with a woman who was at a gas pump when Sterkel allegedly opened fire. She said she was with her husband at pump 1 of the gas station. Her husband had gone inside to pay for the gas and the woman was in the passenger seat of the car when she heard a "pop" and she looked around like "What the heck just happened," according to her statement to police.
She said she saw a man standing just outside the door of a gold-colored Ford Truck. According to her statement, she said the man was kind of laughing at her then she heard a second "pop." She said a man to the right of her got out of his car and yelled at the man by the gold truck saying, "Dude, what the f***?! You just shot me," the woman said in her statement. Then, the man in the gold truck took off. She and the man who was shot went into the store until police arrived.
"It hits me every now and then and I'm like oh my gosh I could have died yesterday," Tara Fix told KREM 2.
Fix said the owner of the gas station came out to help.
"After the second pop the store comes running out and he had a gun and he was like – just he didn't know where the shooter was or if he was still there but he just put himself in the line of fire and wanted to make sure all of us got to safety," Fix said.
Witness 2: Man at gas pump tries to follow suspect
According to his witness statement, the man was pumping gas at pump 7 when he saw a guy messing with something in the bed of his truck then he heard gun shots behind the gas station.
“I look over and he is pointing a gun in my direction. I hear one more shot as I am trying to leave in a hurry,” he wrote.
He said he saw the gold F150 pulling out on Poleline and tried to follow him but he lost him by the school.
Witness 3: Carjacking victim
A man told Post Falls Police he was working west of the intersection on the north side of the railroad tracks and was walking back to his work truck parked just east of him. He said a man pulled up next to him and got out of a gold truck and asked him if the white Dodge Ram was his. According to court documents, the witness told the man it was his and the man walked over to the passenger side of his gold truck and pulled out a rifle.
The man chambered another round and pointed the rifle at him and said, "I am taking your truck and you’re taking this one," and had him get into the rear driver's side of the truck, according to documents. The witness gave the man his keys and took off in the Dodge Ram, documents say.