An Idaho family is speaking out against what they are calling a “senseless murder” of a Boise cattle rancher at the hands of Adams County sheriff’s deputies.
Loved ones say they were finishing dinner at around 6:45 p.m. on Nov. 1 at the home of 62-year-old Jack Yantis off U.S. Hwy 95, 6 miles north of Council, when they received a call from police saying that one of the ranchers bulls had just been hit by a car and needed to be tended to.
After responding to the scene, Jack found one of his 2,500-pound black Gelbvieh bulls, that had one of its rear legs smashed by a collision with a station wagon. The bull reportedly started charging people at the crash site but had made its way back home where it was lying in the grass, family say.
At this point, family say Jack told his nephew Rowdy Paradis to grab a rifle, a front-end loader, and a chain so that he could put the animal down – a common occurrence on the open rural range – prompting him to ask his aunt (Jack’s wife Donna) to get a .204-caliber rifle and bring it down to them.
As Paradis was retrieving the loader, that’s when he says deputies began opening fire on the bull with multiple weapons including at least one semiautomatic AR-15.
“They opened up with their pistols and their [AR-15s]… before Jack got there,” Paradis said. “That’s an inhumane deal… This is a 2-ton Angus bull that’s pissed off, he’s hurt and psychotic… It was blazing down there and it sounded like World War III on this bull, because they got him charging at everyone again.”
Paradis says he drove the loader down the driveway and parked it on the highway where the bull was lying still alive, and his aunt Donna walked the requested rifle out to her husband.
Jack was standing about 4 feet from the injured bull with his back to deputies, Paradis said, and was aiming the rifle at the back of the animals head to “put him out humanely.”
“Everything was going as planned,” Paradis said. “I did not notice any conversation at all [between Jack and the officers.] Then the one cop turned around, grabbed his shoulder, jerked him backwards, [and grabbed the rifle’s scope.]”
With the barrel pointed at the ground, Jack attempted to regain his footing, Paradis said. That’s when three deputies began opening fire on his uncle.
Paradis maintains that he does not know if Jack’s rifle fired, but says he thinks it may have went off accidentally when the officer grabbed and spun him around – or when a bullet fired by the officers hit his hand that was holding it. Jack was also shot in the chest and in the abdomen.
Jack’s wife Donna – who had a heart attack in the wake of the shooting – says her husband fell to the ground and that none of the deputies went to check on him.
Instead, the woman says that when she, Paradis, and her daughter Donna started running toward their loved ones bullet ridden body, they were “threatened, threw [in] the middle of Highway 95, searched and handcuffed.”
One deputy said he had been grazed by a bullet, and initial media coverage of the incident heralded Jack’s death as a result of a “shootout” that he had with the officers – but a family friend who was present at the dinner called that claim “bullshit,” and maintains that “there was no blood, no torn thread, no powder burn… nothing.”
Paradis said when the officers pulled Jack’s rifle out from under his body and threw it to the ground, their demeanor was “smug [and] almost celebratory.”
“There was no shootout. It was a senseless murder,” Jack’s daughter Sarah said. “My dad is dead and the two deputies who killed him are on paid vacation. That makes me angry.”
Adams County police have said that two deputies were wearing body-cams at the time of the shooting, but it is not yet clear whether they recorded what transpired. Additionally the officers’ vehicles were equip with dash-cams but police say they were not turned on.
Idaho State Police are now handling an investigation of the incident. The family are currently pursuing legal action against the department. You can support their expense fund HERE.