POCATELLO — Bannock County prosecutors have officially charged the 28-year-old Pocatello man shot by police Friday night following a manhunt after he allegedly stole at least two firearms from a local home during an afternoon burglary.
Jake Lee Sheeler faces seven felony charges stemming from the incident that ended when three Pocatello Police officers shot Sheeler in a field near the Red Lion Hotel on the 1500 block of Pocatello Creek Road around 8:30 p.m. Friday.
Sheeler has been charged with three counts of aggravated assault, two counts of grand theft, one count of burglary and one count of unlawful possession of a firearm. Prosecutors are also considering whether to file a weapons enhancement charge against Sheeler for using a firearm during the commission of a felony crime, which carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison.
Sheeler is still hospitalized at Portneuf Medical Center in Pocatello where he’s receiving treatment for his gunshot wounds. PMC has not released any information on Sheeler’s condition and Pocatello police will only confirm that he’s still alive.
Sheeler was shot four hours after he allegedly broke into a home on the 1200 block of East Maple Street near Greenacres Elementary School.
He stole two guns from the residence and threatened to shoot the homeowner with the guns he had just stolen, Pocatello Police Chief Roger Schei said during a late Friday night news conference held at Pocatello police headquarters. Police said that after they responded to the burglary they determined that Sheeler posed a threat to the neighborhood so they closed off all of its streets to traffic and aggressively patrolled the area in search of him.
They located Sheeler in a field near the Red Lion Hotel where the confrontation ended with police shooting him.
Authorities told the Idaho State Journal on Wednesday that Sheeler will be transported to the Bannock County Jail in Pocatello as soon as he’s discharged from the hospital.
Bannock County Prosecutor Steve Herzog said Sheeler will likely make an initial court appearance via video conference from the jail on Friday or Monday, if he’s incarcerated at the jail by that point, otherwise an attorney may make an appearance on Sheeler’s behalf.
Authorities offered no new details surrounding the details leading up to Sheeler being shot by police, including whether he was armed when police shot him or whether or not he threatened police in any way. It’s also unknown how many times Sheeler was shot during the incident, though Pocatello Police Chief Roger Schei told the Journal on Tuesday that he’s certain Sheeler was not shot several times in the back as he was running away.
Investigators are still working to secure several search warrants, including one for Sheeler’s medical records, that will shed more light on the circumstances surrounding the officer-involved shooting.
Herzog said he has filed a motion to seal certain aspects of Sheeler’s criminal case via judicial order as a precautionary measure to not adversely affect the two investigations connected to the incident — one Pocatello police is conducting surrounding the alleged burglary and circumstances leading up to the officer-involved shooting, and another investigation into whether or not the three officers who shot Sheeler were justified in doing so.
The Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office is leading the investigation into the officers’ use of force as part of the East Idaho Critical Incident Task Force, a multi-agency group that investigates officer-involved shootings and use of force incidents. The sheriff’s office will submit its findings to the Bannock County Prosecutor’s Office for review once complete. That process could last several months.
All three of the Pocatello police officers who discharged their firearms have been placed on administrative leave while the East Idaho Critical Incident Task Force investigates.
Not much is known about Sheeler other than Pocatello police officers have had previous dealings with him and he has two pending theft-related charges on his criminal record. Sheeler faces two misdemeanor charges, petit theft and burglary, stemming from an incident on Aug. 19 in Bannock County, according to court records.
If convicted of all the charges against him stemming from the incidents Friday, Sheeler faces nearly six decades in prison and up to $215,000 in fines.