SWAN LAKE — A 12-year-old boy is in custody as a suspect in the shooting death of his father, Paul Danielson, 46, at their home in Swan Lake. The arrest took place early Saturday morning after deputies from Bannock and Franklin counties responded to a 911 call about 11 p.m. Friday night.
Danielson was dead at the scene and the boy was taken to the Bannock County Juvenile Detention Center and booked on a homicide complaint following an interview with detectives at the scene of the shooting. The boy was reportedly living with his father at 30790 S. U.S. Highway 91, about a half-mile from Swan Lake Township.
Swan Lake is located about 10 miles south of Downey, just seven miles from the Franklin County line.
Area residents were shocked by the news of the shooting.
Tanna Weaver met Danielson last August when she began working at The Mart in Downey and she saw both the victim and his son in the store Friday when they came in to get a soda.
“He (Paul) was definitely a regular,” Weaver said. “He would sit at the table and talk to me for hours. Everybody knew Paul. Whenever anybody needed anything he was there. He was a great guy. I can’t believe he is gone.”
Lisa Thomas, who lives in Virginia and works in Swan Lake at Thomas Merc, said everyone is just shocked and said Saturday was “crazy” because of the incident.
Thomas said Danielson was a trucker who had lived in the area for about seven years. It was just him and his son. She said the cattle trailer in the front yard was new within the past few days.
“It’s been crazy around here,” Thomas said. “A lot of people who saw him, saw him yesterday, both (his son) and Paul. You never expect a thing like this to happen in such a small community.”
The crime scene has been sealed and the investigation will continue for several days, according to Bannock County Sheriff Lorin Nielsen. Outside the two-story house with wood siding, one of two family dogs barked at Bannock County Sheriff’s officers and Search and Rescue personnel Saturday afternoon. Police tape was strung around the house and across the gate and driveway leading to the house.
Search and Rescue personnel were stationed to not let anyone cross the fence line and said a family friend was coming to take the dogs.
A decision on the filing of formal charges against the juvenile will be made Tuesday, the sheriff said.
The boy and his father had reportedly lived at the residence near Swan Lake for about seven years, Nielsen said. The sheriff said he had been up all night coordinating the investigation and was impacted by age of the boy in custody.
“This is not a win-win situation for anybody,” Nielsen said.
Nielsen said the initial 911 call about a potential shooting went into the Franklin County dispatch and was relayed to Bannock County, so deputies from both departments responded to the Danielson home. They secured the scene until Bannock County detectives arrived. The 12-year-old suspect was in the home when officers arrived and discovered that the victim was already dead. No other people were in the home.
Nielsen said he couldn’t provide details about the weapon involved other than “the victim died of a gunshot.”
“We just want to know who did it,” Paul Thomas said Saturday afternoon as he talked about the case inside the Thomas Merc. Paul said he doesn’t think the son is the one who did it.
‘‘Paul was a good guy and the boy idolized him,” Thomas said.
“Based on the age of the child, we have to do a real thorough background check and investigation of the scene,” Nielsen said. “We’re positive we have the right suspect in custody.”
Once detectives assessed the scene, Nielsen said, “The suspect was interviewed last night.”
The boy’s statements and the evidence at the scene led to a decision to take the juvenile into custody. Chief Deputy Bannock County Prosecuting Attorney Vic Pearson is in charge of the criminal case. Any formal charges would not be announced until Tuesday because Monday is a state and federal holiday, according to the sheriff.