A man in Idaho was fatally shot and killed by police officials in his own backyard Monday after an officer mistook him for a suspect. According to the Idaho Falls Police Department, authorities were searching for a man who was believed to be armed after he fled a traffic stop. While the driver remained in the vehicle the passenger fled, prompting police to pursue him.
The man, later identified as Tanner J.N. Shoesmith, described as wearing a black T-shirt and khaki pants, was booked at the Bonneville County Jail on outstanding warrants for failing to show up to court on charges of felony battery upon a police officer, resisting arrest, and providing false information to police, East Idaho News reported.
During the incident, the driver of the vehicle received a text message from Shoesmith which shared his GPS location tracing to a nearby yard, and a resident also told an officer that they saw the suspect run through their yard. After all the officers were given this information, officers heard yelling and approached the victim’s backyard where they found a man wearing a black shirt and holding a gun.
According to The Washington Post, an Idaho Falls Police officer tracking Shoesmith asked the man to drop his weapon, upon failing to do so, he then shot the resident who allegedly “partially fit his [Shoesmith’s] description.” The officer since then has been placed on administrative leave and the Eastern Idaho Critical Incident Task Force (CITF) is conducting an investigation into the incident.
After shooting the resident, officers saw another man running nearby. Identified as Shoesmith, the man was found in the shed of a nearby residence and arrested. He was charged on the outstanding warrants as well as a new misdemeanor for resisting arrest. According to the Idaho Falls Police, the entire incident took place in a matter of 20 minutes.
“We do not currently have the answers as to what exactly occurred during these moments,” Idaho Falls Police Chief Bryce Johnson said. “We do know that during this interaction, an Idaho Falls Police Officer discharged his service weapon firing one shot which struck the man. Officers attempted life-saving measures but they were unsuccessful. Emergency medical personnel from the Idaho Falls Fire Department also responded and were also unable to provide any lifesaving aide to the man.”
Reports indicate that the officer who shot the resident in his own yard was wearing an activated body camera at the time of the shooting. While the footage has not been publicly released, it is being reviewed to aid in the investigation. Both Shoesmith and the unnamed resident identify as white, NBC News reported.
While the incident allegedly marks the first fatal police shooting the state has recorded, it does not excuse it. Police officials are not naming the victim at this time as his family has asked for privacy.
“There are no words to express how heavy our hearts are today,” Johnson said in a statement. “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.”
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