A sign warning drivers of hikers ahead is seen in the mountains in Sun Valley, Idaho, July 6, 2015. Two newspaper carriers were shot at on the Nez Perce Indian reservation in Idaho on October 8, 2018. (Reuters/Mike Blake)

Newspaper carriers shot at on Nez Perce Indian Reservation

October 15, 2018 4:28 PM ET

An unknown assailant fired multiple shots at Lewiston Tribune newspaper carriers Donna and Dane Correll on October 8, 2018, outside Lapwai, a small city in northwest Idaho that serves at the seat of government of the Nez Perce Indian Reservation, the Tribune reported. The shooting occurred as they were delivering papers in the early morning, according to news reports.

Dane Correll had just placed a paper into a delivery box and was pulling away from the residence at about 3:25 a.m. when the husband and wife delivery team heard the first shot, according to a report in the Lewiston Tribune. A second shot shattered the passenger-side window, showering the back seat, where Donna Correll was folding newspapers, with glass. Realizing someone was shooting at them, Dane Correll drove away from the residence and back toward Lapwai to contact the Nez Perce tribal police.

The two have been delivering along the same route for about three months, and have established a regular schedule, according to the Tribune. "We weren't doing something we shouldn't have been doing," Donna Correll told the Tribune. "Whoever shot knew the car was moving. They deliberately shot at the car."

Tom Holm, a Tribune reporter, told CPJ that a Tribune district circulation manager completed the delivery route that morning after the incident. During the drive, however, an unknown driver drove aggressively around him, speeding up behind him before passing, pulling in front of him, and deliberately slowing down. After doing so several times, the manager was able to get a look at the driver, who pointed at his own eyes and then pointed toward the distributor.

Holm also told CPJ that complaints and threats to the newspaper have increased in recent months, including a threat to "shoot out our windows" made in February 2018 after the paper published an editorial cartoon about protests by National Football League players during the playing of the national anthem before games.

The Tribune reported that the FBI is assisting the Nez Perce police in the investigation. The Nez Perce police told CPJ by phone on October 15, 2018, that they are continuing to investigate the incident and had no additional information to provide.

The Columbia Journalism Review reported in early 2018 that the predictability of newspaper carriers' routes has contributed to carriers being targeted for robbery and assault. CJR found that at least 45 carriers died on the job since 1970, and 23 were murdered or violently killed on the job since 1992. By comparison, CPJ--which only counts cases in which it has confirmed a journalist was killed on dangerous assignment, in reprisal for their work, or in combat or crossfire--has documented 11 journalists killed in the U.S. since 1992.

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