Idaho gunman Knew Victims, But Motive Remains Unclear, Police Say

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Jason Hamilton unleashed his deadly rampage on people he knew: his wife, sheriff's deputies at the courthouse where she worked, the caretaker of a church across the street.

The 36-year-old was already known in the small college town of Moscow for a troubled past before Saturday night's shooting rampage. He had been arrested for domestic violence, had attempted suicide and had warned a mental health worker that if he did kill himself, he would take others with him.

But in the end, Hamilton left no obvious reason for the violence that left four people, including himself, dead.

"We have not found any note," said David Duke, assistant chief of the Moscow Police Department. "We do not have any motive at this time. We have no idea."

Hamilton had been drinking at a Moscow bar Saturday night but showed no sign of distress, police said.

Some time after 10 p.m., he returned home and fatally shot his 30-year-old wife, Crystal, in the head, Duke said.

Around 11 p.m., he drove to the Latah County Courthouse, armed with two semiautomatic rifles. Standing outside the courthouse, which houses the sheriff's department, Hamilton fired some 125 bullets into the sheriff's dispatch center and vehicles in a parking lot, authorities said.

He shot and killed one law enforcement officer and wounded Pete Husmann, 20, a University of Idaho mechanical engineering student from Coeur d'Alene. Husmann had armed himself and run to the sound of the shots. Two other law enforcement officers were wounded, Duke said.

Hamilton then moved across the street to the First Presbyterian Church.

Church sexton Paul Bauer, 62, was fatally shot while he tried to call 911; dispatchers could hear the gunfire, Duke said.

Hamilton fired an additional 60 to 80 rounds from inside the church before killing himself around 1 a.m. Sunday, Duke said. An AK-47 rifle was found next to his body.

While Hamilton appears to have at first targeted law enforcement, Duke said there was no sign that he had a particular grudge. Hamilton also knew Bauer, who lived at the church, from his job cleaning First Presbyterian for a private maintenance service, Duke said.

Local law enforcement knew Hamilton, he said. In 2005, Hamilton had been arrested for domestic violence against a woman with whom he was having an extramarital affair, and he was sentenced to two years probation. He was not to possess firearms during that time, but he already had the rifles, Duke said.

On Feb. 16, Hamilton attempted suicide by overdosing on anti-anxiety medication, and was evaluated twice for involuntary mental health commitment, Duke said.

Hamilton told one mental health professional that if he were really to commit suicide, he would do it through a mass shooting or bombing in which others would die, Duke said. But he later said he wasn't serious, Duke said. Hamilton was judged not to need involuntary commitment and was released.

On May 15, just days before the shootings, he was in court again for allegedly violating the conditions of his probation by halting his mental health counseling, Duke said. The case wasn't resolved that day, and another hearing had been planned for mid-June.

Duke said police found Crystal Hamilton's body Sunday morning, after the shootings at the church and courthouse. The information about her death wasn't immediately released so relatives could be notified, he said.