An innocent man was killed at the hands of police officers who mistook him for an armed suspect.
As CNN reported, the suspect was pulled over at a traffic stop on Monday (Feb. 8), but he fled from the vehicle, leaving the passenger behind. A deputy from the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office sent out a broadcast, and several law enforcement officers showed up to the area to search for the suspect.
Amid the search, the passenger received a text message from the suspect and gave the GPS location to cops, which led them to a backyard. Additionally, one of the neighbors told officers they saw a man running through a backyard and believed he was holding a firearm.
Since the suspect had a warrant for felony battery on an officer, two failure-to-appear warrants and a “prior history of violence when interacting with police officers,” authorities surrounded the backyard to prevent him from running away. They “entered the location with their service weapons drawn” and encountered an armed man in a black shirt. As officers demanded he drop his gun, one of the cops fired a shot that wound up killing the innocent man. The real suspect was found hiding in a nearby shed after the fatal shooting.
“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,” Idaho Falls Police Department Chief Bryce Johnson said during a press conference. “Our sincere sympathies are with the family and friends of those involved, most especially the family of the deceased.”
The officer who shot the man has been placed on administrative leave while the Eastern Idaho Critical Incident Task Force and the Idaho Falls Police Department conduct separate investigations. The results of the probe will be used to determine whether he will be indicted in connection to the shooting.