East Idaho is experiencing an unprecedented number of unrelated gun violence incidents.
Over a recent 10-day span in East Idaho there have been just as many shootings, including two incidents Tuesday night — one in Bonneville County that deputies say left a man on life support with critical injuries and another in Blackfoot that police say left another man hospitalized in stable condition.
“It’s hard to remember the last 10 days or so; it’s been a whirlwind,” said Sgt. Bryan Lovell of the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office. “It’s very unusual to have all of these events happen in a nine-day span. It’s definitely not something I’ve seen before in this geographic region in my 27 years in law enforcement.”
The shooting incident in Blackfoot was the first to unfold Tuesday night, which involved Blackfoot police officers being dispatched to the 700 block of South Broadway around 8:20 p.m. for the report of multiple gunshots, police said.
When police officers arrived at the scene they located a 29-year-old Blackfoot man who had sustained a gunshot wound, police said. Blackfoot ambulance services transported the man to an undisclosed hospital where he was listed in stable condition Wednesday, police said. No update on the man’s condition was available on Thursday.
The Blackfoot Police Department and Bingham County Sheriff’s Office joint detective division is still investigating the incident and no arrests had been made as of Thursday afternoon. Anyone with any information about the incident is encouraged to contact Bingham County dispatch at 208-785-1234.
The incident in Bonneville County occurred around 11:30 p.m. when sheriff’s office deputies were dispatched to the 3100 block of North Yellowstone Avenue for the report of an altercation between two men, according to the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office. Witnesses on the phone with police dispatch reported hearing a gunshot shortly before deputies arrived at the scene, deputies said.
Deputies arriving on scene discovered one of the men had sustained a gunshot wound and the other man involved in the altercation was detained and questioned, deputies said.
Idaho Falls Fire and Ambulance personnel arrived and transported the victim to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center. Deputies were later advised that the victim’s injuries were non-survivable but he was still on life support.
“We are told the victim is on life support and has a non-survivable injury,” Lovell said in an email.
The other man involved in the altercation detained and questioned Tuesday night is no longer in police custody but is cooperating with deputies as they investigate what led up to the confrontation, deputies said.
Authorities in both Blackfoot and Bonneville County have not yet released the names of the men involved in the two unrelated shootings in their jurisdictions.
Prior to the two shootings involving civilians Tuesday night, East Idaho had experienced five officer-involved shootings spanning a week, of which four resulted in fatalities. No members of law enforcement were injured during any of the five officer-involved shootings.
The rash of recent gun violence began with a drive-by shooting reported on Feb. 7 outside of Clydesdale Bar & Lounge, located on the 600 block of North Fifth Avenue near City Hall. The gunfire came from a vehicle driving along North Fifth Avenue and the bullets struck several cars parked along the roadway, police said. There were no injuries.
On Feb. 8 Idaho Falls police fatally shot Joseph Johnson, 37, of Idaho Falls, while searching for Tanner Shoesmith, 22, of Idaho Falls, who had fled from a traffic stop, police said. Shoesmith was subsequently arrested shortly after Johnson was killed.
Another Idaho Falls man, Talon Cavanaugh, 26, opened fire on Chubbuck police on Feb. 11 and then led officers on a high-speed chase and foot pursuit before being arrested on the Fort Hall Indian Reservation, authorities said. Cavanaugh on Feb. 9 had allegedly broken into his ex-wife’s home and fired a gunshot just over her head into the wall before fleeing the area.
A U.S. Marshal on Feb. 13 fatally shot a suspect, whose name has not been released, in Pocatello while attempting to apprehend Blackfoot fugitive Richard “Rocky” Iverson, 43, who was wanted on lewd conduct charges.
Iverson and the unidentified suspect were riding together in a pickup truck in Pocatello during a high-speed pursuit that ended with Iverson fleeing and the other suspect allegedly opening fire on the U.S. Marshals. Iverson was arrested a short time later.
The U.S. Marshal Service on Thursday refused to release the name of the man shot and killed Saturday, and could not provide a timeline as to when more information would be released.
A Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office SWAT team officer shot and killed Bruce Diehl, 51, of Shelley, in an abandoned home in the Rose-Firth area on Feb. 14. Diehl had told the deputies they would “leave in a body bag” if they entered the house, according to a news release from the Bingham County Sheriff’s Office.
The Feb. 15 incident at an apartment complex in Rexburg on Monday night resulted in the death of a 50-year-old man from that area, police said. Rexburg police on Thursday refused to release the name of the man police shot and killed and his city of residence, whether or not he was armed with a weapon, if officers involved were wearing body cameras and if they were activated or any other minor details about the incident.
”Unfortunately we are not answering any questions at this time in regards to this case,” Rexburg Assistant Chief of Police Gary Hagen said in a Thursday email.
Police in Chubbuck and Pocatello are investigating a reported shooting inside a car on the evening of Feb. 15. Pocatello police said they received multiple reports around 10 p.m. Monday that a gun had been fired inside a silver car near the Jacksons convenience store in the 1100 block of South Fifth Avenue near Idaho State University.
Police began to search the area and Chubbuck police spotted it in the area of Stuart Park, but when officers approached the vehicle the driver sped off at continued to evade police at high rates of speed resulting in the chase being called off. Police said there were apparently no injures during this incident.
Anyone with any information about any of these shootings is encouraged to contact Pocatello police at 208-234-6100.