FBI probe ‘needless’ fatal police shooting of Idaho rancher

The rancher's wife subsequently suffered a heart attack and has been taken to hospital

Andrew Buncombe
New York
Friday 13 November 2015 15:26
The FBI has launched a probe into the death of Jack Yantis
The FBI has launched a probe into the death of Jack Yantis

The FBI has opened an investigation into the death of a rancher from Idaho who was shot by police after one go his bulls escaped and was hit by a car.

The bureau said its own investigation into the shooting of Jack Yantis would be conducted in addition to an investigation already taking place by the Idaho State Police.

“We want to be deliberate and thorough,” federal prosecutor Wendy Olson told reporters in announcing the investigation, according to the Associated Press. “People will need to be patient.”

Mr Yantis, 62, died on the night of November following an exchange of gunfire on a dark, open stretch of highway north of the own of Council. Dispatchers had called Mr Yantis while he was at dinner, telling him to take care of his 2,500-pound Gelbvieh bull, which had been struck by a Subaru station wagon.

According to the Yantis family's version of events, provided last week to the Idaho Statesman newspaper, the rancher rode to the scene on an all-terrain vehicle, and his wife, Donna, picked up the family's .204-calibre rifle and met him on the highway.

The family said police had shot the bull before Mr Yantis arrived.

Donna Yantis suffered a heart attack

When he got there, his wife handed him the rifle and he aimed the gun at the animal lying on the pavement. The deputies stood behind him as he put the barrel a few feet from the bull's head with his finger on the trigger, his family said.

“Law enforcement should be trained to de-escalate situations,” said Rowdy Paradis, Mr Yantis’s nephew. “In this case, I stood 10 feet away and watched two deputies escalate the situation and needlessly kill a man.”

The family has claimed that as the rancher went to shoot the bull, police officers instead shot him. Reports said that his wife, Donna, who was at the scene after bringing Mr Yantis his rifle, suffered a heart attack and taken to hospital. On Wednesday it was her birthday.

Adams County Sheriff's Office issued a statement saying a probe was underway but that it was "believed that two deputies and Mr Yantis all fired their weapons. Mr. Yantis sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene. One deputy sustained a minor injury."

It added: "Our thoughts are with our community and especially all those involved in this incident."

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