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Four People Killed in Idaho Bar Shooting

October 25, 2003

OLDTOWN, Idaho (AP) _ A man fatally shot his ex-girlfriend and three other people in a small-town tavern, then killed himself hours later as sheriff’s deputies approached him in his car, authorities said.

The shooting Friday at the Stateline Bar apparently stemmed from a dispute between the suspect, Ralph Reeves, 51, and the ex-girlfriend.

Bonner County Sheriff Phil Jarvis said deputies from Pend Oreille and Bonner counties had the car under surveillance for some time Friday night and ``as we approached, the man shot and killed himself.″

Reeves, 51, was homeless and lived in his gray Ford Crown Victoria, the sheriff said.

Oldtown, a community of about 200, sits along the Idaho-Washington border, about 50 miles north of Spokane, Wash., and about 40 miles from Canada.

The four victims, whose identities were being withheld pending notification of relatives, were shot between 3:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. Friday, Jarvis said.

Other people in the tavern at the time were not hurt, the sheriff said.

One witness said he noticed nothing unusual until the shooting began.

``It all happened behind me ... I thought, `What idiot is shooting blanks in here?‴ said Earl Hunt in Saturday’s edition of The Spokesman-Review newspaper. ``Except they weren’t blanks.″

Greg Cavanaugh, a friend who let Reeves park a trailer on his property and stay there periodically, said Reeves told him several times he was suicidal.

``Life wasn’t always the greatest for him,″ Cavanaugh told The Spokesman-Review.

The tavern, just off U.S. Highway 2, has a pool table and dart board. It isn’t known for rowdiness, said Alvin Lindley of Oldtown. ``This one is normally quiet,″ he said.

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