The Idaho State Police will have company as it conducts an investigation into the shooting death of a rancher by two deputies: the FBI.
A parallel investigation by the FBI into the Nov. 1 shooting death of Jack Yantis, 62, was announced Thursday. A car accident involving the Council, Idaho, rancher’s 2,500-pound bull ended in deadly gunfire after he was called to the scene.
“We want to be deliberate and thorough. People will need to be patient,” U.S. Attorney Wendy Olson told reporters in Boise during the announcement, the Spokesman-Review reported Thursday.
Federal investigators will attempt to determine if two deputies intentionally shot Yantis or if excessive force was used as the incident unfolded.
“They have met with ISP. Our office will make a determination on whether there are any federal charges that can be brought. I’ve talked to the state Attorney General’s office,” Olson said. “They are two independent investigations and two independent prosecutorial decision-making processes. There will be a sharing of information.”
ISP immediately launched an investigation into the shooting death of Yantis Nov. 1, but Adams County Sheriff Ryan Zollman is not permitted to disclose details of initial findings.
“I’m a transparent person, I will give you the facts when I know the facts. I’m not hiding anything from anybody,” Zollman told KTVB Nov. 5, WND reported.
Yantis’ family says two deputies are responsible for “senseless murder” that began when a Subaru station wagon injured the bull. Dispatchers called Yantis when the bull charged emergency workers. They told him the animal would have to be killed.
The rancher headed to the scene of the accident with his .204-caliber rifle. His nephew, Rowdy Paradis, readied a front-end loader to transport the animal once it was put down. Deputies shot – but failed to kill – the bull before the men arrived.
“I put the [skid loader’s] lights on him and the bull, and [Yantis] lined up to shoot the bull in the back of head and put him out humanely,” Paradis told Idaho Statesman Nov. 7. “Everything was going as planned. … Then the one cop turned around and grabbed his shoulder and jerked him backward.”
Paradis claims the rifle accidentally discharged before deputies fired their own weapons.
“There was no shootout. It was a senseless murder,” said Yantis’ daughter, Sarah, the newspaper reported.
“‘I saw them murder my husband,” added Yantis’ wife, Donna, from Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise. She suffered a heart attack the night of Yantis’ death.
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“ISP reassures those involved in this incident, their families and the public at large, that they are committed to complete a thorough investigation into this incident to determine exactly what transpired,” spokeswoman Teresa Baker said in a statement, the newspaper reported.
Sheriff Zollman told the Statesman Nov. 5 that both deputies were wearing body cameras, but did not say whether the devices were filming. A dash camera for the officers’ vehicle was not turned on.
The two deputies are on paid leave as ISP conducts its investigation.