Investigators in Idaho Falls are probing a fatal police encounter after a traffic stop early Monday escalated to a brief manhunt that left one person dead. An officer fatally shot an allegedly armed man who was mistaken for the fleeing suspect only to realize the error and later find the actual suspect hiding in a shed on a neighboring property.
“There are no words to express how heavy our hearts are today,” Idaho Falls Police Chief Bryce Johnson said in a statement Tuesday. “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.”
The Idaho Falls officer who fired the single fatal shot also was not identified but had been put on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation, the department said.
Law enforcement identified the suspect as Tanner Shoesmith, whom was reported to be wearing a black shirt and believed to be armed. Police determined Shoesmith was hiding in a residential backyard.
Officers found a man in a black shirt in a backyard in the area, “armed with a firearm.” A police officer fired one shot, which struck the man, and he was pronounced dead at the scene.
But the man killed was not Shoesmith.
“Ultimately, officers and deputies determined that the man that had been shot was not the suspect male but was actually the resident of that address,” the news release said.
The Sacramento Bee confirmed via public records that Johnson previously lived in Sacramento and in nearby Citrus Heights for at least 15 years before moving to Idaho Falls.