“Tragedies happen,” according to Idaho Falls Police Department Chief Bryce Johnson, remarking on the killing of an innocent Idaho Falls homeowner who was shot in his own backyard at 3:30am as police mistook him for a suspect who had fled a traffic stop.
A driver has been pulled over for a broken taillight last week. The passenger in the car fled from officers, who later discovered that he was wanted on several outstanding warrants. Officers at that time did not believe the man was armed.
The suspect entered a residential neighborhood and lost the officer who had been pursuing. That officer radioed for backup. As other officers canvassed the neighborhood, a neighbor told them he’d seen the suspect running through yards, carrying a gun.
At that time, the officers learned that the warrants on the suspect included felony battery on a police officer. Back at the traffic stop, the driver of the car shared a text message from the suspect that showed a GPS ping for a backyard in the neighborhood.
Police surrounded the home and heard yelling from the backyard. As police approached, they found a man there with a gun, whom they then shot and killed.
The man turned out to be the homeowner, not the suspect, whom they found another block away hiding in a shed in the backyard of a house a block away.
The suspect, 22-year-old Tanner Shoesmith, whose warrants were issued for failing to show up to court on charges of felony battery upon a police officer, resisting arrest, and providing false information to police, was arrested
The innocent man police shot and killed, 37-year-old Joseph Johnson, was a married father of four who had just moved to Idaho Falls in 2016. I presume he was exercising his Second Amendment rights to defend his family when he heard and saw sirens and the sounds of cops pursuing a fleeing suspect in the wee hours of the morning.
Which makes me wonder: If cops can just fire their weapons at will into innocent peoples’ homes when residents like Breonna Taylor’s boyfriend use the Second Amendment to defend their homes, and cops can just shoot innocent homeowners in their backyards like Joseph Johnson when they use the Second Amendment to defend their homes, what good is the Second Amendment?
Cops can pull their guns and fire away at the slightest threat to their safety, even if it’s 12-year-old Tamir Rice playing with a toy gun, immune from prosecution if “tragedies happen?” But in the same sort of chaotic, stressful circumstances, we are supposed to accurately identify whether a potential threat is predator or police, and not even draw our weapon if it’s the latter, lest we be killed by them?