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Hannah Anderson kidnapping suspect fired at FBI agents, sheriff says

August 12, 2013|By Tony Perry and Kate Mather

James Lee DiMaggio fired at least one shot at authorities before he was fatally wounded by an FBI agent in the Idaho wilderness on Saturday, San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore said Monday.

DiMaggio, who was suspected of kidnapping 16-year-old Hannah Anderson and killing her mother and 8-year-old brother, was armed with at least one weapon that he was carrying in a shoulder holster, Gore said.

The Sheriff's Department has scheduled a news conference for 2 p.m. Monday in San Diego. 

DiMaggio, 40, and Anderson were found by an FBI search team near Morehead Lake, about 75 miles north of Boise and just a few miles from where the two were spotted by a horseback rider Wednesday, officials said. The agents had been alerted to DiMaggio and the teen by searchers scouring the area in a plane.

Authorities have offered few other details about the shooting, but said they moved in after DiMaggio and the teen had separated a safe distance.

A pair of U.S. marshals in a surveillance plane spotted them at a campsite. A team was dropped in from a distance to avoid alerting DiMaggio of their presence, and hiked two hours in the steep terrain. 

The killing ended a tense, multistate manhunt that began Aug. 4, when firefighters found the bodies of Hannah's mother and younger brother at DiMaggio's burning home, east of San Diego. Ever since, police have been focused on Hannah, who authorities believed was abducted.

The case prompted officials in several Western states to send missing-children Amber Alert text messages to the public.

There are still many unanswered questions about the case, including the nature of the relationship between DiMaggio and Anderson.

Authorities have said they do not know whether the girl went with him willingly -- or why she didn't ask for help when the pair encountered a group of horseback riders.

Christa and Mark John said the two looked out of place in the Idaho wilderness. They weren't dressed properly and their behavior was a bit off.

She wore what looked like pajama bottoms. He had brand-new camping gear — and a cat. “Like a square peg going into a round hole,” Mark John said.

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Twitter: @LATSanDiego

tony.perry@latimes.com 

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