Jan 12, 2015 3:21 PM

Police seek motive in Idaho shooting rampage that killed 3

The Associated Press

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) Police in Moscow, Idaho, asked for help from the public on Monday as they sought a motive in the shooting deaths of three people over the weekend.

Moscow Police Chief David Duke said suspect John Lee remained jailed in adjacent Whitman County, Washington, and has not yet been questioned by officers.

"Mr. Lee, if we are able to talk with him and he cooperates, maybe will give us the reasons," Duke said. "In the meantime, we are seeking community assistance from anybody who had contact with him."

"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, 29, was expected to make a court appearance in Whitman County later in the day on a felony charge of eluding law enforcement officers that arose from a high-speed chase through the Palouse region on Saturday.

Idaho authorities have issued a separate arrest warrant for Lee for investigation of three counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder. Idaho authorities will seek the return of Lee to that state.

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 that his parents frequented. 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, revolver, shotgun and rifle in the vehicle, along with a computer, he said.

Lee has no criminal history in Idaho.

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 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.


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