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Whitefish man pleads guilty in Idaho shooting

Hagadone News Network | April 25, 2021 12:00 AM

COEUR d’ALENE — The Whitefish man accused of firing into a crowd outside a downtown Coeur d'Alene, Idaho bar last summer has pleaded guilty to multiple felony charges.

Austin L. Sherper, 25, pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated battery and seven counts of aggravated assault, all felonies.

Prosecutors also filed a deadly weapon enhancement.

Initially arrested on two counts of aggravated assault, the charges were later elevated to eight counts of attempted murder. The state amended the charges again last week as part of a pretrial settlement offer.

Sherper’s trial, which was previously postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, was scheduled to begin Wednesday.

Police responded to reports of a shooting at the Iron Horse Bar & Grill around 9 p.m. on July 11, 2020.

A man later identified as Sherper reportedly had an altercation with security staff, who told him he was no longer allowed in the building.

Witnesses who were smoking outside the bar told police Sherper yelled at them as he walked past, then threatened to come back and kill them.

Sherper returned to the scene in a white truck and shot at three Iron Horse employees as he drove past the bar with what was believed to be a .45 caliber handgun.

Witnesses said he continued to fire at people under an awning outside the bar.

Police estimate between six and nine shots were fired.

Two people were injured and transported to Kootenai Health, according to court documents.

Sherper left the scene before law enforcement arrived.

Police later located him at a Coeur d’Alene residence. He surrendered to police after a standoff that lasted several hours.

Since his arrest, Sherper has been held on $500,000 bail.

One count of aggravated battery carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison, while aggravated assault is punishable by up to 5 years.

Use of a deadly weapon while committing certain crimes, including aggravated battery and aggravated assault, increases the maximum sentence authorized for the crimes by 15 years.

Sherper’s sentencing is scheduled for June 28 before Judge Scott Wayman.