Officer cleared in standoff death near Petco
An independent investigation has determined there should not be any criminal charges filed for the March 14 police-shooting death of Bradley Wilson.
Wilson was shot by outside Chubbuck Petco Store after a brief car and foot chase. Wilson had taken a teenage hostage out of the store and into the parking lot before he was confronted by police.
The case was investigated by the Blackfoot Police Department and reviewed by Ada County Prosecutor Greg H. Bower.
The prosecutor's report revealed more details about the incident, which began when Wilson's mother contacted Pocatello police dispatch to say her son had been making threats to harm himself. He also sent a text message about guns to her and said he was going to die by a “cop shooting.” He told her to “call the cops to speed this up.”
The mother also told police Wilson was suicidal, had talked about dying and becoming one with the devil. She also said he had texted her pictures that included guns, bullets and a picture of a young woman lying on the ground with blood around her.
Officers making a welfare check tracked down Wilson at a convenience store parking lot near Idaho State University in the evening. When they tried to talk to him, Wilson brandished a handgun in each hand. The prosecutor said he pointed the guns to his own head and waved them around toward people outside of his car, including the officers.
He then drove without headlights at a high speed. Bower said the officers discontinued the pursuit a couple of times when traffic became too heavy, and “acted carefully and with restraint, given the danger Wilson posed to other motorists.”
He eventually wrecked his car and, after evading police on foot, walked into PetCo, where he took an 18-year-old man hostage.
By then, officers were surrounding Petco.
Wilson used the hostage as a shield and told the hostage they would get into his car to flee the area. Wilson took the hostage out of the store into the parking lot, where police demanded he drop the gun, which he did not do. Wilson held the gun alternatively to his own head and the hostage's.
“The situation was obvious to everyone involved that Wilson posed great danger of violence or death to the hostage,” Bower wrote. “The officers had to take immediate steps to overcome the threat of death or serious physical injury to the officers or to the hostage.”
One officer fired a single shot, killing Wilson. The officer was previously identified by Local News 8 and Eyewitness News as Bannock Sgt. Jeff Young.
Bower called Young's action “justifiable homicide.”
“It was a necessary use of deadly force under circumstances created entirely by Wilson,” Bower said.
An autopsy showed Wilson had “acute methamphetamine intoxication” at the time of his death, and Bower said the meth use and Wilson's determination to end his own life were both factors leading to his death.
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