Idaho shooting suspect makes initial court appearance

AP News
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Posted: Jan 12, 2015 10:16 PM
Idaho shooting suspect makes initial court appearance

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — A man suspected in the shooting deaths of his adoptive mother and two others in Idaho made an initial court appearance Monday in Washington state, where he was ordered held on $500,000 bail.

John Lee, 29, appeared in Whitman County Superior Court in Colfax and was charged with eluding law enforcement officers, a felony that arose from a high-speed chase into Washington after authorities say he killed three people and wounded a man in Moscow, Idaho, on Saturday.

Lee did not enter a plea. His next court appearance was scheduled for Friday.

Idaho authorities have issued a separate arrest warrant for Lee, of Moscow, for investigation of three counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder. Idaho authorities will seek extradition.

Meanwhile, police in Moscow asked for help from the public on Monday as they sought a motive for the shootings.

Police Chief David Duke said his officers have not yet been able to question Lee.

"We'd like to know about his recent activities, anything to give us a clue as to why he would do this," Duke said.

Lee was arrested in Washington state after he lost control of his car and it crashed off U.S. Highway 195.

Police believe that, on Saturday, he shot and killed his adoptive mother, landlord and a manager at a fast-food restaurant in Moscow frequented by his parents. Lee also is a suspect in the shooting of a Seattle man who survived with critical wounds.

The shootings shocked the quiet town of 25,000 people, home to the University of Idaho.

Investigators searched Lee's car and Moscow apartment late Saturday night, Duke said, and found two semi-automatic pistols and other weapons in the vehicle, along with a computer.

Lee has no criminal history in Idaho.

He was adopted at birth and grew up in Moscow, where he was known as Kane Grzebielski, officials said. He graduated from Moscow High School in 2004, and eventually left the area and changed his name.

Duke said Lee returned to Moscow in 2013 from Omaha, Nebraska.

The first victim of the shootings was Lee's adoptive mother, Terri Grzebielski, 61, who was shot at her home, police said

Police said Lee then headed to a Northwestern Mutual life insurance office, where his landlord, David Trail, 76, an insurance agent, was shot. Also shot and wounded was Michael Chin, 39, of Seattle.

Duke said Chin was discussing business with Trail when the gunman arrived

The shooter then drove to the restaurant and shot manager Belinda Niebuhr, 47, who died at a hospital, Duke said.

It's not clear if Lee knew the woman.

Lee drove to nearby Pullman, Washington, where police spotted his black Honda. The chase stretched over 25 miles before Lee crashed north of Colfax.

Lee was taken to a Colfax hospital for treatment of minor injuries then booked into the Whitman County Jail.