Cops Mistakenly Kill Man in His Own Yard

Investigation underway after 'devastatingly tragic' shooting in Idaho Falls
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 9, 2021 9:55 AM CST

Idaho police killed a man in his own backyard on Monday after mistaking him for a suspect on the run. The man police had been chasing, with warrants for felony battery on an officer and failure to appear, was found hiding in a shed on a nearby property in Idaho Falls only after the fatal shooting, Police Chief Bryce Johnson said at a Monday press conference. He'd dashed from a vehicle as a Bonneville County sheriff's deputy made a traffic stop after midnight, per CNN. Several law enforcement officers then began searching for the male, whom a resident reported seeing running through their yard, possibly with a gun, Johnson said. He said location data from a text the suspect had sent a person in the vehicle led officers to a yard, where they found a man with a gun. They demanded the man drop the weapon before an Idaho Falls officer fired a single, fatal shot.

"We do not currently have the answers as to what exactly occurred during these moments," Johnson said. The victim, whom police aren't identifying at the request of family, was the homeowner, per KIFI, which reports both he and the suspect were wearing black shirts. An Idaho Falls police officer had actually spoken to the victim earlier in the search, explaining why police were in the area, reports East Idaho News. The suspect was found hiding in a shed in the backyard of another home nearby, Johnson said. "Sometimes everyone does what they think is right and tragedies happen," he added, per CNN, noting the case is "devastatingly tragic for the family" and "for the officer." The unidentified officer is on paid administrative leave while the Eastern Idaho Critical Incident Task Force investigates, per the Idaho State Journal, which notes there is body camera footage. (More police shooting stories.)

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