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Idaho Police Officer Shoots And Kills Mistaken Suspect In Their Own Back Yard

Idaho Police Officer Shoots And Kills Mistaken Suspect In Their Own Back Yard

An Idaho Falls police officer has fatally shot a man in his own backyard after mistakenly thinking he was the suspect that he was on the hunt for in Bonneville County.

Neither the name of the victim or the officer in question has been made public, with the officer apparently finding the suspect he was actually after in a nearby residence instead.

Tanner J. N. Shoesmith, 22, was arrested for three outstanding warrants and resistance to arrest.

Credit: Bonneville County Sheriff's Office
Credit: Bonneville County Sheriff's Office
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The officer in question has now been placed on administrative leave while the Idaho State Police lead an investigation into the nature of the shooting and the Bonneville County prosecutor's office will assess whether he was legally justified in pulling his firearm.

In a statement on Monday, Idaho Falls Police Chief Bryce Johnson said: "There are no words to express how heavy our hearts are today. This situation is devastatingly tragic for the family, for the officer, and those that love and care about them."

The incident occurred late night on Monday when Shoesmith, wearing a black shirt, fled a car after a sheriff's deputy tried to stop them for a broken tail light.

There was a passenger in the car, who remained behind and provided information on the driver, including showing messages from him that showed his location via GPS. At this time the sheriff's deputy had also sent out for reinforcement and several officers descended on the area to look for him.

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During the course of the search, it became apparent that the suspect was already wanted for felony battery of an officer and two failure to appear warrants on charges of resisting and obstructing arrest and proving false information to law enforcement.

Then tragedy struck as officers descended on a property they believed Shoesmith to be hiding in.

They went round to the backyard and found a man holding a firearm and also dressed in a black shirt. At some point during their exchange with him one of the officers shot him and despite attempts to save his life, they were unsuccessful.

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Police Chief Bryce Johnson. Credit: NBC News
Police Chief Bryce Johnson. Credit: NBC News

Tragically the deceased man turned out to be someone officers had spoken to previously while searching for the suspect. They eventually found their man at a nearby residence and arrested him.

The officer who shot the innocent man activated his security camera during the search and it's likely that footage will be used during the investigation of what happened.

Johnson also expressed his sympathy for the family of the victim, but also the officer in question. "Sometimes everyone does what they think is right," he said. "Tragedies happen."

Featured Image Credit: Bonneville County Sheriff's Office

Topics: US News, crime

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