One local law enforcement officer is returning back to the line of duty this week after this past month's Chubbuck shooting that left one person dead.
Sgt. Jeff Young tightly gripped his wife's hand as he described the night of March 14, when he said he had no choice but to shoot Bradley Wilson in front of Petco, where Wilson stood aiming a gun at an 18-year old boy he was holding hostage.
“I pleaded with him so much to put the gun down and let the boy go,” Young said. “I told him it wasn't worth it.”
But that night ended with Wilson's temperamental defiance, which led to his death.
Nearly two dozen law enforcement officers surrounded the Petco, but only one had to make a life-altering decision.
“That's the moment I said, 'I cannot let him hurt this young man. This boy did not deserve anything that is going on tonight.' That was the decision I had to make. I didn't have a choice,” Young recalled, as that traumatic night will always stay with him.
He also said there was a point Wilson pointed the gun at his own head and laughed as he stared at Young.
“We stopped chasing him. 'Go home. Call someone for help. If you're running from me. ...' I told him to stop and put the gun down. We would have helped him. I would have rather seen him get help than anything else, but he chose not to.”
Young has been with the Bannock County Sheriff's Office for more than 20 years, and in that time, he said there have been five officer-involved shootings and three have occurred in this past year alone.
He said he has seen an incline in the societal morale since he started working with county law enforcement, and we live in a community made up of great people.
However, he also noted one major problem the region has been faced with is the lack of resources and funding that needs to go toward mental health. He said he believes this is a nationwide problem and we need to focus on getting people help before they turn to violent behavior.
Bannock County Sheriff Lorin Nielsen agreed with the sentiment, and in a previous interview, expressed that jails are not the proper places to be holding people who need this sort of help and treatment.
Young also mentioned how traumatic shootings are what no officer should ever have to experience.
“We are people. We hurt just like anybody else does. And we, unfortunately get to see the worst in society. We see the accidents or the children that are hurt. We see that every day.”
Nielsen said he is proud of his team for enduring so much while putting their lives on the line.
“We have a great group of young men and young women that have dedicated their lives to saving other people's lives,” Nielsen said. “If that's a hero, then I guess we do have a lot of heroes.”
Young said everything is a team effort and is thankful to have a supportive family and friends who stand by him at the end of each day.
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