SANDPOINT — A Blanchard man accused of attempting to kill two Bonner County sheriff’s deputies during a shootout has been ruled “dangerously mentally ill,” according to court documents.
The ruling was made from the bench during Adam Deacon Foster’s competency hearing in magistrate court on March 23. The ruling suspends criminal proceedings against Foster until determinations are made whether he can understand the charges against him and assist in his own legal defense.
A written order, however, did not reflect the dangerously mentally ill finding, which caused confusion as to where Foster would be committed while his competency is evaluated. Absent the finding, Foster was destined for the Idaho Department of Health & Welfare’s State Hospital North in Orofino.
Bonner County Deputy Prosecutor Katie Murdock moved to amend the order to reflect the finding, which means Foster will now be held at an Idaho Department of Correction maximum security medical facility, court records indicate.
Foster, 31, will be committed for up to 90 days and IDOC will provide the court with a progress report on his mental health and his fitness to proceed.
Foster is accused of shooting deputies Michael Gagnon and Justin Penn when they attempted to arrest him outside his Mountain View Road home on Jan. 16. The deputies secured an arrest warrant for Foster in a year-old battery case.
Deputies resolved to arrest Foster because he told a family member he planned to kill a neighbor and threatened to kill anyone who stood in his way, including law enforcement officers, court records show.
Foster bolted around the side of his home, assumed a shooter’s stance and opened fire on Gagnon and Penn as they rounded a corner to apprehend him. The deputies returned fire and wounded Foster, who surrendered.
Doubts about Foster’s fitness to proceed were raised by his defense counsels, who advised the court their client appeared to be having trouble distinguishing reality from fantasy. During an initial court appearance on the murder charges, Foster disputed that Gagnon and Penn were at his home on the day in question and told the court that men in plainclothes tried to seize him so they could kill him.
Keith Kinnaird can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @KeithDailyBee.