An inmate facing a slew of serious charges attempted to escape Kootenai County Jail on Sunday, but surrendered after spike grenades, rubber bullets and tear gas were used against him.

Jesse R. Spitzer, 30, of Sultan, Wash., was in a single cell when he was able to ‘beat’ his locked cell door shortly before 2 a.m. on Sunday, according to a press release from the bureau. from the Kootenai County Sheriff. He allegedly armed himself with the metal leg of his cell desk and made several attempts to break windows and doors in his effort to escape.

When prison staff saw Spitzer outside his cell, they locked down the prison and began inmate evacuation protocols, the statement said.

The sheriff’s office, Coeur d’Alene Police Department and Idaho State Police responded, deputies said.

A deputy was slightly injured and several uninvolved inmates suffered the effects of tear gas. All were treated by prison medical staff.

Spitzer remained in jail on $1 million bail Wednesday afternoon. He faces two counts of aggravated assault, evading police and possession of a stolen vehicle.

For Sunday’s incident, he was charged with two counts of escape.

In late January, authorities arrested Spitzer in northwest Montana after he was suspected of six car chases in a week.

The sheriff’s office said the jail was over capacity and understaffed.

The statement said the maximum safe capacity of the prison is 361 inmates and the overall maximum capacity is 451. As of Sunday, the prison population was 412, with 20 inmates housed in other prison facilities. Of the 412 inmates, 78% are incarcerated for a crime. The prison lost 24 positions.

“I don’t think the public realizes the public safety that every member of our prison team contributes to this community,” Sheriff Robert Norris said in the statement. “I am very grateful and proud of their dedication and commitment to public safety.”

Kootenai County, very close to Washington, is feeling the effects of “wake-up policies” and the sentencing of their offenders, the statement said.

Given increased population growth coupled with hiring challenges, the future of public safety is of concern, the sheriff’s office said.

“We’ve seen the failures of alternative bail programs, felony defendants released on citation, or weak sentences against serious violent suspects across the country, and they just don’t work,” Norris said. in the press release. “Holding the criminal population accountable for their actions will keep Kootenai County safe and inspire criminals to change their behavior.”


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