Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Felonies charged in gun incident

Sunday evening standoff leads to evacuation in Elkhorn

Express Staff Writer

John Harbeck

    A 36-year-old Sun Valley man has been charged with three felonies for an alleged gun and attempted-strangulation incident early Sunday evening that led to the evacuation of an Elkhorn Village condominium.
    At an initial court appearance Monday afternoon in Blaine County Magistrate Court, John Terill Harbeck was charged with the felony crimes of attempted strangulation, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and unlawful possession of a weapon by a convicted felon. He remained incarcerated Tuesday in the Blaine County jail on $200,000 bond.
    Hailey attorney Cheri Hicks was appointed public defender. A preliminary hearing was scheduled for May 28 before Magistrate Judge Ted Israel.
    Sun Valley Interim Police Chief Walt Femling said the incident started shortly after 6 p.m. when there was “domestic violence” between Harbeck and his girlfriend in Unit 50 of Building 3 of the Elkhorn Village condominium complex. Femling said the woman attempted to flee the home in her vehicle but Harbeck jumped in with a handgun.
    The police chief said the woman parked her car near the now vacant Elkhorn Market building and was screaming for help when Hailey attorney Douglas Nelson rode by on a bicycle. Harbeck allegedly jumped from the car, knocked Nelson to the ground and pointed the gun in his face, telling him to “stay out of this.”
    Nelson was riding northbound on his bike when the incident occurred. He was escorting his wife Teresa Espedal, Blaine County chief probation officer, while she was running in training for an upcoming marathon race.
    Femling said that after Harbeck repeatedly pointed the gun at the girlfriend and Nelson, Harbeck fled back to his condominium unit.
    Police were then notified and “at that point we call out anybody we can,” Femling said, noting that “we had 20 officers there” from various agencies in the county.
    Femling said the residents of Elkhorn Village Building 3 were evacuated temporarily to the Sun Valley Elkhorn Fire Station. The road into Elkhorn Village was closed while police attempted to resolve the situation.
    Femling said that at about 10 p.m., Harbeck was seen in an outside courtyard and was arrested “without incident.” He was transported to the Blaine County jail.
    Femling said residents were allowed to return to their condominiums between 11 p.m. and midnight.
Terry Smith:

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