Gunman Kills Two, Himself In Downtown Boise Office

BOISE, Idaho - A geologist involved in a mining dispute with his brother killed him and another man, then committed suicide yesterday, shortly before a deposition was to be taken in the case.

A fourth man, lawyer Patrick Miller, was wounded in the shooting but escaped from the two-story building. Three other people fled the office after the shooting began at M&M Court Reporting Service Inc.

Miller, who was treated at a hospital and released, said the gunman, Paul de Renne, was involved in a legal dispute over mining claims he had staked in central Idaho.

De Renne, 47, was being sued by West Fork Mining Co. His brother, Don de Renne of Cupertino, Calif., was the company's president.

Miller, 34, said the gunman "obviously was deranged in some way."

"He was a geologist by profession, lived out of a trailer that he towed around. He didn't have a permanent residence," Miller said.

"He was a frontiersman, I think is probably the way to call him, and a nomad."

The third victim was Pat Latta of California, an officer of West Fork Mining.

Miller, who was representing the company, said Latta was about to be questioned for a deposition in the lawsuit against Paul de Renne.

De Renne shot his brother first, then fired at Miller, the attorney said. A bullet grazed Miller's left forearm and he ducked under a table, where Miller saw de Renne "shooting, it seemed to me, somewhat randomly around the room, pointing toward the floor, where everybody was at that point."

Miller said he ran toward the door but was tackled by de Renne, who hit him over the head and behind the ear with the gun.

The two struggled into the office's foyer, where Miller said he got his hand on the trigger of the gun.

"It was pointed neither at him or at me, and I pulled it and nothing happened," he said. "I presume, but don't know, that meant the gun was empty."

Miller then fled and sought help at a nearby building.

Dozens of officers cordoned off the block, and ambulances were called in before a tactical unit entered the building just before noon, about two hours after the shooting started.

Lt. Tim Rosenvall said the three victims were found inside.

Miller said the de Renne brothers, both of whom he met for the first time yesterday, had not been speaking to each other.

Paul de Renne had been an officer in West Fork Mining before leaving the company voluntarily about two years ago, Miller said.

But Paul de Renne still had "a very personal interest" in the central Idaho mining claims, which had been leased to the company. Miller said the dispute was over their further development.