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Hostage Claims Panicked Cop Abandoned Her

POCATELLO, Idaho (CN) - After shooting wildly as a man held his ex-girlfriend and her daughter hostage at gunpoint, an Idaho policeman ran away, leaving them to witness the man's grisly suicide, the mother claims in court.

Gina Stucki was on the porch of her home on the morning of Sept. 12, 2014 when Jay Romjue unexpectedly grabbed her, started "throwing her around" and pulled her into the house by her hair at gunpoint, she says in the federal lawsuit.

Romjue was Stucki's ex-boyfriend, according to Idaho news reports.

Stucki's oldest daughter ran into a bedroom and locked the door when she saw what was happening. She dialed 911, but hung up quickly when she heard Romjue and her mother approaching. Romjue allegedly kicked in the door and told the child he was going to kill her mother.

Pocatello Police Officer Niko Gordon was dispatched to the home of the 911 hang-up call, but did not call for backup or do a background check that would have revealed that Stucki had filed a report the previous day, according to the complaint.

Stucki says in the lawsuit on that Sept. 11, 2014, she "became alarmed" that Romjue was stalking her. "Stucki became so alarmed that she contacted the Pocatello Police Department and the Bannock County Sheriff's Office and made a report."

When Officer Gordon arrived, she says, he treated the situation as a domestic dispute.

"Gordon did not appear to have or express any concern. His demeanor was indifferent," the complaint states. "Gordon refused or failed to properly separate the parties so they could speak candidly and safely. Though Gordon had control over Romjue, he failed to exercise it properly."

Stucki says Gordon did not call for backup, did not check Romjue for weapons and "began talking to Stucki and Romjue about resolving their problems without violence." He then "suggested Romjue to leave and work out any problems at a later date" and did nothing when Romjue refused to go, according to the complaint.

"Even though Romjue was defiant to Gordon, and the circumstances would put a reasonable police officer on notice of a potential problem, Gordon did not attempt to get Romjue far enough from Stucki that she could tell Gordon about what had happened, including the gun," Stucki says.

She says her daughter finally "tapped Gordon on the shoulder and blurted out that Romjue had a gun," causing Gordon to panic and fall to the ground, "firing randomly."

"As Gordon went to the ground, he didn't aim and was recklessly shooting all over the place," the complaint states.

Stucki claims Gordon, who did not hit Romjue with his shots, "left his tactical position between Romjue and Stucki and fled."

She says Gordon did not attempt to save her and her daughter from Romjue, who busted down the door of the room to which they had fled.

From outside the house, Stucki says, "Gordon merely yelled at Stucki and her minor child to stay calm and that everything would be all right." After yelling this advice, she says, she and her child "never heard from or saw Gordon again."

Stucki says Romjue held her hostage for another 45 minutes, threatening to kill her, then ripped open his shirt and pointed the gun at his chest, where he had tattooed her name.

"Romjue told Stucki, 'There is no way out now,'" according to the complaint. "While threatening Stucki with death, Romjue suddenly pointed the gun at his chest, pulled the trigger and killed himself. Stucki and her minor child watched as Romjue bled to death."

She says the ordeal caused her and her daughter "severe physical, physiological and emotional damage."

Her attorney, Bron Rammell, with May Rammell & Thompson, was not available for comment after hours on Wednesday.

The city said in a statement: "As this case is pending litigation, the City of Pocatello does not have a comment at this time."

A search on the Idaho State Repository did not turn up any prior arrests for Romjue.

Romjue, 51, lived in Portland, Ore. and Caldwell, Idaho before moving back to Pocatello, according to a 2013 obituary.

Stucki sued Gordon, the City of Pocatello, the Bannock County Sheriff's Office and the Bannock County Emergency Communications Center.

"Defendants' unprepared, untrained, outrageous and reckless conduct proximately violated the law, including plaintiffs' constitutional rights, and caused damages, including depriving them of their constitutional rights under the Fourth, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution," the complaint states.

Damages to her house alone exceed $10,000, she says.

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