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2 arrested after gunfire exchange in parking lot

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI) – Two Idaho Falls residents have been arrested after gunfire was exchanged in an Idaho Falls parking lot.

On Sunday just before 7:30 p.m., Idaho Falls Police officers responded to the area of 955 Memorial Drive for a report of a possible shooting. The caller reported they had seen what appeared to be an exchange of gunfire between two people in a parking lot before both parties left the parking lot in separate vehicles.

Officers arrived and found evidence that a shooting had in fact occurred and that someone had likely been injured during that shooting.

At approximately 8:00 p.m., Idaho Falls Police officers located one of the involved parties, 28-year-old Austin Kuck of Idaho Falls, at Idaho Falls Community Hospital. Kuck had sustained a gunshot wound to the hand.

At approximately the same time, the other involved party, 23-year-old Frederick Free of Idaho Falls, contacted Idaho Falls Police dispatch and informed the Emergency Communications Officer (dispatcher) he had been involved in a shooting.

IFPD investigators spoke with Kuck who said he suspected Free and another person of breaking into his residence and stealing his belongings. Kuck located Free and the person in the parking lot at 955 Memorial Drive and located what he identified as a stolen item in Free’s possession. Kuck confronted Free and a verbal argument ensued.

During the argument, Kuck said Free displayed a firearm and ultimately shot Kuck in the hand.

IFPD investigators spoke with Free who confirmed he and Kuck had argued in the parking lot at 955 Memorial Drive. Free said he feared for his safety when he shot Kuck, but Kuck had not threatened him directly or done anything specific to cause that fear.

Free said he and the second person left the scene in their vehicle. While they were driving away, Kuck shot multiple times at their vehicle. When investigators asked Kuck about this, Kuck said the shooting at their vehicle was self-defense. Investigators informed Kuck that because Free was leaving and not presenting a further danger to Kuck, the self-defense claim did not apply.

Idaho Falls Police officers spoke with witnesses and obtained security footage in the area that confirmed the series of events.

During the investigation, Free was found in possession of several small blue pills identified as fentanyl.

Free was arrested for aggravated battery with the use of a deadly weapon and possession of a controlled substance and was booked into the Bonneville County Jail.

Kuck was arrested for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and unlawful discharge of a weapon at an occupied vehicle. Kuck received a medical clearance and was booked into the Bonneville County Jail.

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