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Airport shooter pleads not guilty

by JOSH MCDONALD
Staff Reporter | January 7, 2022 10:50 AM

WALLACE — A Washington man accused of firing a weapon at Shoshone County Airport last summer appeared before Judge Barbara Duggan on Wednesday.

Joshua D. Forrest has pleaded not guilty to charges of aggravated assault and discharging a weapon at an aircraft, both felonies.

The charges stemmed from a bizarre incident on July 17, 2021, when Forrest reportedly abandoned his vehicle on Interstate 90 — which had run out of gas — and after a phone call with the Idaho State Police, made his way on to the airport grounds.

During this point in time, wildland fire crews were using the airport as one of their many bases of operations during Shoshone County’s battle with the Deceitful Fire, as Forrest made his way toward some of the firefighters at the airport he allegedly began making demands of them while brandishing a handgun.

It was during this time that he also attempted to steal a helicopter that was grounded at the airport, according to witnesses on the scene.

Just before 6 p.m. a deputy with the Shoshone County Sheriff’s Office arrived on scene, it was at this time that Forrest reportedly fired his gun several times in the air and at the ground, as well as at a vehicle driving away from the area — but no evidence ever showed that he hit the vehicle, any aircraft or structures.

As more law enforcement arrived on scene, Forrest eventually surrendered without further incident and no shots were ever fired by an LEO.

A search of Forrest’s nearby fuel-less vehicle yielded no evidence of drugs or drug use, confounding law enforcement as to what caused Forrest to make the decisions that he reportedly did on that day.

Forrest remained in the custody at the Shoshone County Public Safety Building for several months before being released under his recognizance by Judge Scott Wayman on Nov. 30 of last year.

Shoshone County Prosecuting Attorney Keisha Oxendine, representing the state of Idaho in the matter, anticipates that the trial will likely require several witnesses and testimony, and has been scheduled for May 17 with the expectation of taking up to four days.

If convicted, Forrest could face up to five years in prison for the aggravated assault charge, 20 years for the weapons charge and up to $15,000 in total fines — not including any restitution.

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