Boise shooting draws attention to stalking safeguards

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) -- Ada County prosecutors say Christopher Wirfs had been stalking the woman he's charged with shooting Saturday for several weeks.

The shooting happened Saturday around 7 p.m. and the victim was seriously wounded.

Wirfs is charged with three felonies, including aggravated battery, and faces a $1 million bond.

And we know from court records that Wirfs had been a client of the victim's at a local hair salon.

So what can someone actually do if they are being stalked?

We talked with Jeannie Strohmeyer, a clinic services consultant at the Nampa Family Justice Center.

She's not an attorney and is not familiar with this specific case.

But Strohmeyer says while there are no stalking protection orders in Idaho, a victim can apply for a civil protection order, a CPO, but there are two important requirements.

"So there has to be a relationship, a domestic relationship, and the second part is there's some kind of physical harm, sexual abuse, false imprisonment," Strohmeyer explained. "If the judge grants the protection order that means the abusive party has to stay away from the victim."

But Strohmeyer says one downside to a CPO is it could set the stalker off.

"They might intensify in behavior," she said, "and do something more dangerous and harmful."

At the Nampa Family Justice Center, they have what they call "stalking bags", which they distribute to people who are being stalked, typically women.

The bags contain tape recorders, alarms, even a whistle, cell phones, stalking journals, and sometimes cameras, all to help document the case against the individual who is doing the stalking.

Stalking is unpredictable and dangerous, experts say. And no two stalking situations are alike.

According to the Stalking Resource Center there are no guarantees that what works for one person will work for another, yet you can take steps to increase your safety.
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