PRESS RELEASE FROM THE CDA POLICE DEPT: On Thursday at 9:25 pm Coeur d'Alene Police and Fire Department responded to 2003 N. Kootenai Health Way near Kootenai Medical Center for the report of a structure fire. Kootenai County Fire District also responded per our mutual aide agreements and arrived on scene first.
A construction trailer near the McCraine Center was fully engulfed in flames. Firefighters worked quickly to contain the fire. A second construction trailer was damaged by the fire. Officer Mortensen was contacted by a witness who stated she observed a male start the fire. Edora McMinn said she was sleeping in her RV at 9:10 pm when her dogs started barking. She took them outside and they immediately began barking at a treed area to the west of the construction trailers.
She said she observed a male acting suspiciously near a construction trailer. She went back into her RV and a few minutes later there was a knock on her door. She looked through the window and saw the suspect. The male mumbled something to her and walked away. Moments later she saw the trailer on fire.
As the officer was speaking to Edora she recognized the male suspect as he was standing just a few feet away from their location. The suspect later identified as Clark E. Richman, 43 years of age, of Denver Colorado, was standing next to firefighters and watching the fire.
Officer Mortenson approached Richman and asked for his ID. He immediately became uncooperative and used profanity toward the officer. He became aggressive and stated he had a knife. Richman pulled a dark colored 3" blade knife out of his pocket. Officer Mortensen pulled his service revolver and issued several commands for Richman to drop the knife.
At one point he dropped the knife on the ground in front of him but refused to move away from it. It appeared to the officer that Richman was considering picking it up again. Additional officers arrived on scene with a less lethal shotgun. They gave commands for Richman to get on the ground and he eventually complied. After Richman was handcuffed, and while being escorted to the patrol car he kicked an officer in knee.
Richman was transported to the Kootenai County Public safety Building and charged with 2nd degree Arson, Aggravated Assault, and Battery on a Police Officer. Fire inspectors conducted an arson investigation and were able to recover evidence at the scene.
Coeur d'Alene Police Chief Wayne Longo thanked the Fire Department for their assistance. He also praised the police officers involved in his statement of "Our officers acted quickly and responsibly to end this tense situation peacefully. This was a very dangerous call for our officer's and I am grateful no one was hurt."