Idaho Falls, Idaho: Idaho Falls Police Officer Shoots Armed Man in Own Backward When Mistaken as Suspect

Raven Haengel, Writer, Photographer

February 9th, 2021: The Idaho Falls Police Department reported that they had fatally shot a man in his backyard while in pursuit of a suspect. The man’s identity is being kept private in accordance with the families wishes. Idaho Falls Police Department Chief Bryce Johnson said in a conference, “This situation is devastatingly tragic for the family, for the officer, and those that love and care about them. We all feel the weight of what has occurred today,” “Our sincere sympathies are with the family and friends of those involved, most especially the family of the deceased.” According to Johnson, the officers were in pursuit of a suspect who fled from a traffic stop while also having active warrants on felony assault of an officer, resisting arrest, and a failure to appear in court. Johnson claimed many officers were responding to the area in search of the suspect. A resident from the area told officers that the suspect ran through their backyard and might have a weapon. Officers were able to contact the passenger of the suspect who fled, which relayed a message with a GPS location of the vehicle or the suspect. Police arrive at the victim’s residence to see the man holding a weapon while in his backyard. Officers told the man to drop his weapon until another officer fatally shot the man in his yard. According to Johnson, “We do not currently have the answers as to what exactly occurred during these moments,” “We do know that during this interaction, an Idaho Falls Police officer discharged his service weapon, firing one shot which struck the man.” “Sometimes everyone does what they think is right and tragedies happen.,” Johnson told WRCBtv, “There are not words to express how heavy our hearts are today,” An officer was to have to talk to the victim earlier in the pursuit. The officer said to WRCBtv“I just want to make it clear that the person who was shot was not a suspect of any crime,” “It was the homeowner, the resident that was in the house that had been talked to earlier. He had gone out to the back yard with that gun and that’s where the officers met him in that back yard.” According to CNN, the officer who shot the man will remain unnamed by police, has been put on administrative leave and a thorough investigation will be handle by the Eastern Idaho Critical Incident Task Force. There is also going to be an internal investigation by the department itself. CNN has reported that a recommendation to the Bonneville Prosecutor’s Officer on whether to bring charges against the officer once investigations are complete.