Ernesto A. Bustamante had threatened Katy Benoit with a handgun on “multiple occasions,” including one incident where he put the gun in her mouth after the two ended a sexual relationship in March 2011, according to an affidavit filed in Latah County by Moscow Police Department Sgt. Bruce Fager.
MPD believes Bustamante, a former University of Idaho assistant professor in psychology, shot and killed Benoit Monday night at her residence at 112 S. Lilly St. MPD found Benoit, a UI graduate student, dead outside her apartment from gunshot wounds fired from what appeared to be a .45 caliber semi-automatic weapon.
Bustamante was later found at the University Inn Best Western where police said he killed himself with a single gunshot to the head. Lt. Dave Lehmitz said after locating Bustamante, police issued a search warrant for room 213, which Bustamante had checked into around 9:30 Monday night.
Lehmitz said in a press conference Tuesday that police responded to a report of multiple gunshots around 8:40 p.m. and that witnesses had seen a black 2010 Chrysler Seabring with Washington plates rapidly leaving the scene.
According to the affidavit from Fager, Benoit and her two roommates, Meghan Walker-Smith and Emma Gregory, were baking cookies when Benoit went outside to smoke a cigarette. Her roommates said Benoit had been outside for about two minutes when they heard gunshots. Fager said Gregory went to the front door and saw Benoit shot and down, but neither saw who did it.
Both women suspected Bustamante, Fager said, because of the past relationship between Benoit and Bustamante. They said Benoit claimed Bustamante had threatened her several times and that she filed a complaint with UI in June 2011, according to the affidavit. Dean of Students Bruce Pitman said in Tuesday’s press conference that Bustamante resigned from UI effective Aug. 19.
Lehmitz said Wednesday afternoon that he was not able to comment on MPD’s knowledge of the prior gun threats or harassment of Benoit by Bustamante.
Gregory and Walker-Smith said they were concerned because Bustamante had weapons and multiple personalities.
Rowdy J. Hope, who said he was a close friend of Bustamante, confirmed in the affidavit that Bustamante had multiple handguns — including a Smith and Wesson .45 caliber semi-automatic handgun and a 1911 .45 caliber handgun. He also said Bustamante had multiple personality disorder which included a personality that Bustamante called “psychopathic killer” and another called “the beast,” according to the affidavit.
UI has issued statements pertaining to the case that said they are committed to releasing all university records for which they have the “legal ability to release.” The issued statement also said the university is prohibited by federal law from discussing student records and by state law from discussing personnel records.
Benoit’s family issued a statement calling for UI to be more transparent with records involving the process the Benoit family went through in regards to Bustamante during the summer.
“Katy had shared with us details about her issues with Ernesto Bustamante. She was deeply alarmed by Bustamante’s behavior and rhetoric. After receiving threats and intimidation from Bustamante, Katy obtained a restraining order, changed addresses and filed a complaint with the University of Idaho. Our family had grave concerns when we learned that the University of Idaho had received dozens of complaints from other students about Bustamante, and that, from what we understood, Katy was the only one willing to sign her name to a complaint.”
Lehmitz said there was no court record of a restraining order for Benoit against Bustamante. He said police hope to release more information about the case Friday.
Pitman said at the press conference Tuesday that the incident was a tragedy on many levels.
“We are saddened by the loss of Katy Benoit, who was one of our graduate students,” Pitman said. “Our heartfelt sympathy goes to her family and friends, and the university is making grief counseling available to students, faculty and staff.”
A memorial service is planned for Benoit at 4 p.m. Aug. 30 at Boise High School.
UPDATE: 12:17 p.m., August 23.
Katy Benoit was identified as the victim in Monday’s homicide by Moscow Police. Police believe former UI assistant professor Ernesto A. Bustamante shot her outside her residence at 112 S. Lilly Street.
UPDATE: 9:15 a.m., August 23.
In a statement released from the University of Idaho, it was confirmed that the victim from the shooting at 112 S. Lilly St. that occurred last night was a UI graduate student. Identity is being witheld pending notification of next of kin.
UPDATE: 9:01 a.m., August 23.
At approximately 7:45 this morning, the Moscow Police Department served a search warrant in room 213 at the University Inn Best Western and discovered the body of Ernesto A. Bustamante who appeared to have died from a self-inflicted gun shot wound. Earlier this morning, a search warrant was issued by the Moscow Police Department for the University Inn Best Western in conjunction with last night’s shooting at 112 S. Lilly St.
UPDATE: 8: 41 a.m., August 23.
A black 2010 Chrysler Seabring with Washington plates, ABW 3726 that the Moscow Police Department was looking for in connection to last night’s shooting, has been located and roped-off at the University Inn Best Western at 1516 Pullman Road in Moscow.
UPDATE: 8:33 a.m., August 23.
Moscow Police Department has confirmed that a 22-year-old female was found dead on the scene of last night’s shooting at 112 S. Lilly St.
UPDATE: 8:10 a.m., August 23.
The University of Idaho has cancelled the alert it issued in relation to the police activity at the University Inn Best Western. The notice said that the situation has been “resolved.” More information as it becomes available.
UPDATE: 8:04 a.m., August 23.
Moscow Police Lt. Dave Lehmitz says an arrest warrant had been issued for Ernesto A. Bustamante, who is identified as an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology and Communications at the University of Idaho on the school’s website.
UPDATE 8:02 a.m., August 23.
The University of Idaho just activated its emergency alert system, warning that Moscow Police are attempting to serve a search warrant at the University Inn Best Western and are asking the public to avoid the area of Farm Road between A Street and the Moscow-Pullman Highway.
UPDATE: 8 a.m., August 23.
Moscow Police are on the scene at the Best Western University Inn and are restricting public access. There is no indication that the police action is or is not related to last night’s shooting at 112 S. Lilly Street.
UPDATE: 11:36 p.m., August 22.
Lt. Paul Kwiatkowski of the Moscow Police Department confirmed the shooting at 112 S. Lilly St. is being investigated as a homicide. He said there will be no further comment until 8 a.m. Witnesses said they heard 11 shots fired near the scene. More to come as information becomes available.
UPDATED: 10:20 p.m., August 22
Shots fired at 112 S. Lilly Street. Witnesses said they heard 11 shots fired approximately one hour ago. More to come as information becomes available.