Suspect in Idaho shootout fired once or twice
Tuesday, August 13, 2013
SAN DIEGO (AP) — A close family friend suspected of abducting a 16-year old girl after killing her mother and younger brother fired his rifle at FBI agents before they killed him deep in the Idaho wilderness, authorities said Monday.
Hannah Anderson didn’t know her mother and brother were dead until she was rescued from 40-year-old James Lee DiMaggio, San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore said.
“I can’t make it any clearer: She was a victim in this case. She was not a willing participant,” Gore said at a news conference with Hannah’s father, Brett Anderson.
During a shootout with the FBI, DiMaggio fired at least once and perhaps twice, the sheriff said.
Hannah Anderson reunited with family in San Diego to begin what her father said would be a slow recovery. He thanked the horseback riders who reported seeing the pair near an alpine lake, saying the search might have taken much longer without them.
Gore declined to address how Hannah’s mother and brother died, describe Hannah’s captivity or say whether she tried to escape. The sheriff also refused to discuss the rescue or how many times DiMaggio was shot, other than to say the suspect is believed to have fired first and that Hannah was nearby.
Gore said the crime was “not spur of the moment” but would not elaborate. Sheriff’s Capt. Duncan Fraser said last week that investigators believe DiMaggio may have had an “unusual infatuation” with the girl.
DiMaggio is suspected of killing 44-year-old Christina Anderson and 8-year-old Ethan Anderson and leaving their bodies in his burning home near San Diego on Aug. 4. Hannah’s disappearance triggered a massive search in much of the Western United States and parts of Canada and Mexico that ended with Saturday’s shootout and rescue.
A DiMaggio family friend, Andrew Spanswick, said the suspect appears to have followed in his father’s footsteps in a carefully laid plan. His house burned down exactly 15 years after his father disappeared. Saturday’s shootout came exactly 15 years after his father committed suicide.
The younger DiMaggio “clearly had a death wish,” Spanswick said.
The father, James Everet DiMaggio, was arrested after breaking into the home of his ex-girlfriend in 1988, wearing a ski mask and a carrying a sawed-off shotgun and handcuffs, Spanswick said. The former girlfriend wasn’t home, but DiMaggio held her 16-year daughter and her boyfriend at gunpoint. The girl escaped after asking to use the bathroom.
The elder DiMaggio was imprisoned for a separate attack and died in 1998 after consuming a large amount of methamphetamine intravenously and walking into the desert.
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