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Escaped Idaho inmate and alleged accomplice captured following ambush at hospital

Idaho State Police were looking into two separate homicides in northern Idaho that may be connected to the men’s escape.
/ Source: TODAY

An inmate and his alleged accomplice were apprehended Thursday, one day after they escaped police custody and ambushed three correctional officers at an Idaho hospital on Wednesday, Boise police said.

Skylar Meade, the 31-year-old inmate, and Nicholas Umphenour were arrested around 2 p.m. MT in Twin Falls, Idaho, on Thursday — about 130 miles from where Meade broke free after what authorities called a successful "prison break" that left three officers injured.

"There was a short vehicle pursuit and both suspects were taken into custody separately," Boise Police chief Ron Winegar said during a press conference.

Authorities took a third person, Tonia Huber, into custody in connection with the case, according to a statement from the Twin Falls Sheriff's Department. NBC affiliate KTVB reported prosecutors said Huber was driving one of the cars when Meade and Umphenour were arrested.

Idaho State Police were also looking into two separate homicides in northern Idaho — one in Nez Perce County and one in Clearwater County — that may be connected to the men's escape.

“We did find the shackles at the scene of one of the homicides so that’s one of the ways that we tied them together,” Winegar said.

Police said the vehicle the pair were driving when they made their initial escape was located in northern Idaho, and said the men took another car that belonged to one of the homicide victims.

The homicide investigations are ongoing, and the coroner's office are working to identify the men and their causes of death, Winegar said.

After being taken into custody by police, both men were being held at the Twin Falls County jail.

The manhunt began early Wednesday morning after Meade was being transported back to a corrections facility after treatment for what police said were self-inflicted injuries. During the transport from the Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center, Umphenour opened fire on officers, according to police.

Two officers were shot, one with non-life-threatening injuries and another who was stable in critical condition, and a third officer sustained non-life-threatening injuries during crossfire with Boise Police, police said.

"We believe that this was a coordinated attack, ambush on the department of corrections officers and certainly a planned endeavor to free him from custody," Winegar said during a press conference.

Josh Tewalt, director of the Idaho Corrections Department, said Thursday one of the officers had been released from the hospital, and that the other two were "stable" and "improving."

After the incident, Meade and Umphenour fled in a gray four-door Honda Accord, police said.

Meade was described as a white male, 5 feet, 6 inches tall, 150 pounds, with hazel eyes, brown hair and tattoos on his arms, chest, calf, abdomen and face, according to the department of corrections.

"They are dangerous, they are armed, and they have shown a propensity for violence," Winegar said.

Meade was sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2017 for shooting at law enforcement officers during a high-speed chase while fleeing a traffic stop in 2016, according to NBC affiliate KTVB.

Authorities said Meade and Umphenour were members of the Aryan Knights, an white supremacist gang within the Idaho prison system.

"Their gang involvement doesn’t necessarily indicate that this was a some sort of gang-sanctioned event," Tewalt said Thursday.

Tewalt said the corrections department was investigating how this incident occurred. Police have said a motive in the case is unclear at this time.

The FBI is assisted Boise Police and the Idaho State Police, NBC News confirmed.