Gunmen lead police on chase across runways

Thursday, April 10, 2003

BOISE, Idaho -- Two suspected armed robbers led police on a high-speed, running gun battle across runways at Boise Airport in the middle of the night.

No passenger flights were affected, but the suspects were killed early Wednesday, police said.

Officers tried to stop Milton Sanchez, 40, of Boise, and his wife, Melody, 32, at a gas station several miles north of the airport after receiving a report that they were suspected in two recent armed robberies and were planning a third, police spokesman Rich Wright said.

The two fled shortly after midnight and fired at pursuing squad cars, Wright said.

When they reached the airport, they drove through a fence and across several runways and taxi-ways as one plane was coming in for a landing.

"The plane landed safely," Wright said. "I don't think it was that close."

No passenger traffic was operating out of the airport at the time, only cargo planes.

Wright said planes preparing for takeoff were kept clear of the chase area while others preparing to land were delayed. Airport operations were back to normal before the first scheduled passenger flight around 6 a.m.

The exchange of gunfire with police continued until the vehicle stopped outside a passenger gate. Both occupants had been shot. A statement from police did not specify whether officers had killed the two or they shot themselves.

Wright said Melody Sanchez died at the scene, and Milton Sanchez was later pronounced dead at a hospital.

Wright said they were suspected of the March 29 robbery of a restaurant where Melody Sanchez previously worked, and of robbing a beauty supply business last Saturday. Investigators alleged the Sanchezes were planning to rob the restaurant again Wednesday morning.

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