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Police: Argument during dart game leads to fatal shooting

The Idaho Falls Police Department says an argument during a game of darts led to the fatal shooting of a 32-year-old man Saturday evening.

In a police report obtained by KIFI/KIDK, the investigating officer wrote the victim, Tyson Tew, was shot twice by his “best friend”, Justin C. Sarbaum, 36, after a physical altercation at Sarbaum’s apartment on the 2700 block of St. Clair Road. Sarbaum is currently being held in the Bonneville County jail on a $200,000 bond.

According to the report, Sarbaum, Tew and a neighbor were playing a game of darts when Sarbaum claims Tew threw a dart at his foot.

“They had been throwing darts. Justin said that Tyson was throwing darts at the carpet,” the officer wrote in a report. “Justin said they often joke back and forth with each other. Justin said that Tyson stuck a dart in his foot. Justin said it was accidental and that they were joking around.”

During his interview with the officer, Sarbum told police being hit in the foot upset him and he asked Tew to leave. Sarbaum told the officer he did not appreciate how Tew was treating his property, having also thrown a dart as Sarbaum’s kitchen cabinet, according to the report.

“Justin told Tyson that he did not have the right to come to his (expletive) house and destroy (expletive),” the officer wrote in the report. “Justin said that he was agitated.”

At this time, Sarbaum told officers he asked Tew to leave. Tew went into a bedroom, according to Sarbaum. Sarbaum asked Tew to leave several times.

“Justin told Tyson that he was prepared to physically remove him from the house and that if it went to blows, it would go to blows,” the officer wrote.

Tew eventually left the home but then returned, according to Sarbaum’s statement. Sarbaum said as Tew left the apartment he “let his guard down”.

Sarbaum told investigators that’s when Tyson “grabbed his shirt with his left hand and pulled him down. Justin said that Tyson beat the (expletive) out of him.”

Sarbaum said he ran out of the home once he broke free. Sarbaum said he was scared and grabbed a metal gun rack from his truck to protect himself. Sarbaum said he stayed outside and yelled at Tew, telling him to leave. Sarbaum told the investigating officer Tew started to leave the apartment, but Sarbum says he attempted to stop him and asked him “to not walk away mad and that they were brothers,” the officer wrote. “Justin told Tyson to shake his hand and walk away like brothers,” the officer continued.

Sarbaum told the investigator that Tew refused to shake his hand and “Tyson walked away and said something non-friendly and it sounded threatening.”

According to the report, Sarbaum said he hoped by smoothing things over he could go to the hospital for injuries from the fight with Tew.

“Justin said that he was trying to prevent this scenario [the shooting]. Justin said he just wanted to get his stitches, a case of beer, go home, lick his wounds and laugh about it a few days later with his best friend,” the report stated.

Sarbaum said when Tew would not shake his hand, he then went back into his apartment and retrieved a .22 caliber handgun. Sarbaum said he then heard his front door open, and he yelled at Tew that he had a gun and he announced he would shoot. Sarbaum said he chambered a round.

“Justin said that Tyson walked down the hallway toward where he [Sarbaum] was,” the report reads. “Justin said that Tyson took one step forward. Justin said that he felt that there was no choice. Justin said that from the injuries that he had sustained [in the previous fight]… Justin said that he was so scared and didn’t know what he was going to do.”

Sarbaum said he fired two to three rounds and followed Tew down the hallway until Tew fell near a glass door. Sarbaum told the investigator he walked outside and called 911.

Sarbaum said he had to shoot his best friend to keep the ” holy dog (expletive)” from being beat out of him again. He told the investigator he “had no remorse for the end result. Justin said that he would dance with his daughter at her wedding. Justin said that he would watch his kids graduate from school,” the report read.

When officers arrived, they found Tew with two bullet wounds, according to police documents. The documents said Tew was shot in the upper right shoulder and in the spine. The investigating officer made Sarbaum aware of these finding during his interview. The officer wrote Sarbaum was surprised.

“Justin had been distraught throughout the interview but became even more distraught at this news,” the officer write. Justin was repeating, ‘no, no, no’.'”

The officer wrote that Justin “swore he did not intentionally kill Tyson and that he was scared,” according to the police report. “Justin said that maybe Tyson turned and started running, but he didn’t know,” the officer wrote.

Sarbaum is a three-time Army combat veteran. He told officers he and Tew had known each other one year.

“Justin said that Tyson comes over every day and that he is his best friend in the whole world,” the report said. “Justin said that they have mutual hobbies in common and had just hit it off.”

The officer wrote in his report that Sarbaum claimed Tew was upset when he arrived at his home. Sarbaum told police Tew had caught his wife with another man the day before, and Tew had beat the man. Sarbaum also told investigators he hid marijuana in his toilet after the fight but before the shooting.

Sarbaum is scheduled to be back in court on Jan. 31.

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