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Officer involved in Idaho Falls fatal shooting identified

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IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI) - Idaho Falls Police have identified the officer who discharged his service weapon as Elias Cerdas, who joined the Idaho Falls Department in November of 2019. He graduated from the Idaho POST Academy in July 2020. He remains on Administrative Leave at this time.

Officer Elias Cerdas


The victim of the shooting has been identified as Joseph Johnson.


UPDATE: An Idaho Falls man is dead following a shooting involving a police officer.

You can watch the press conference below.

Idaho Falls Police Chief Bryce Johnson said the man shot was not the suspect they were looking for but was a homeowner where police were searching for a suspect.

It started when a Bonneville County Sheriff's deputy made a traffic stop on 1st street shortly after mid-midnight Monday.

The car stopped near the corner of Lincoln Drive and 1st St. A man took off on foot into the neighborhood. A woman was also in the car, they said.

A number of law enforcement officers started searching for the suspect.

While searching, a resident told police he saw the suspect run through his yard and may have been armed with a gun.

The woman who was in the vehicle got a text from the suspect describing his location.

Police said they used the GPS location showed it was a backyard of a nearby home near Tendoy Dr. and Syringa Dr.

Officer surrounded the home. They heard yelling the backyard and encountered a man wearing a black shirt with a firearm. Officers instructed him to drop the gun. The suspect was also described as wearing a black shirt.

"We do not currently have the answers to what exactly occurred during these moments. We do know that during this interaction an Idaho Falls police officer discharged his service weapon, firing one shot which struck the man," said Johnson.

Officers tried life-saving measures, but were unsuccessful.

It was then when they discovered the man shot was not the suspect, but was the homeowner.

A police officer had actually spoken to the homeowner earlier who was asking what was going on.

The suspect was seen nearby shortly after the shooting. Police located him hiding in a backyard shed of another residence, Johnson said.

Police have not released the name of the man killed or the name of the suspect in respect to the victim's family.

The suspect had multiple warrants for his arrest, including felony battery on an officer and two failure to appear warrants with original charges of obstructing and resisting arrest and telling false information to law enforcement. The suspect also had a history of violent interactions with law enforcement.

Johnson said the time between the traffic stop and the arrest of the suspect happened within 20 minutes.

The Idaho Falls police officer has been placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure.

The Eastern Idaho Critical Incident Task Force is conducting the investigation with Idaho State Police being the lead agency.

Note: Police originally said the incident occurred at a residence on the corner of Linden and Syringa. But actually was Tendoy and Syringa. They also originally said the suspect they were looking for was the driver, but now he may have been the passenger.


UPDATE: Idaho Falls Police moved the press conference to 1:30 p.m.


ORIGINAL: Idaho Falls Police say they will hold a press conference at 1 p.m. this afternoon about an officer-involved shooting Monday morning.

No details or other information was released about the incident.

You can watch the press conference below.

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1 Comment

  1. I will admit that this officer appears to have made a mistake–one with a huge “F”!–and the general public needs to know both the officer’s name AND–arguably–his time-on-the-job (as it has a factor in his poor decision to discharge his weapon).
    Having never been IN a similar situation I could always set back, click my tongue, and Monday morning quarter-back the whole situation leading up to the death. However, my lack of experience in that area, not simply compassion, tells me I shouldn’t.
    MY complaint is with LocalNews8’s display of the officer’s smiling photo which accompanies the article. This photograph is both misleading AND completely uncalled for in relationship to reporting the incident itself. As a–most-likely–graduation type photo, it not only belies the seriousness of the officer’s error, but proffers that same officer’s supposed indifference TO that error, simply BY its display.
    LN8 needs to display a little bit of the compassion for BOTH sides of this incident!

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