PRESTON, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK)-Franklin County Prosecutor Vic Pearson has determined that there is no evidence to support a criminal charge against a Franklin County Deputy involved in a fatal shooting incident. He confronted a knife-wielding suspect identified as Raul Antonio Menjivar-Saabedra.
"This appears to be a situation where Saabedra was attempting 'suicide by cop' and succeeded in his attempt," said Pearson.
The Pocatello Police Department was the lead agency in the investigation for the Critical Incident Task Force. The case was presented to the Prosecutor December 18.
Deputies were called to the Stokes Marketplace in Preston at 8:37 p.m. on November 19. A caller reported a suspicious man was inside the store. Preston Police Officer Tuyen Nguyen made contact with Saabedra in the store.
Saabedra did not speak English, so the officer called Deputy Dustin Olsen to assist. Olsen began speaking with Saabedra. He quickly determined that the man was mentally unstable. Saabedra produced a 13 inch kitchen knife he had taken from the store and began begging police to kill him. They talked him into putting down the weapon and placed it in a bag.
Officers continued to talk with Saabedra outside the store, when the man pulled the knife out of the bag and held it. After attempting to talk the man into leaving the area with his ecclesiastical leader, Saabedra began to move aggressively towards Deputy Kelly Biggs who had arrived on the scene.
Deputy Olsen, Biggs, and Officer Nguyen all deployed duty tasers, but they didn't make full contact. Saabedra began to run away with the knife still in hand. He ran into the middle of Highway 91 where he ultimately sprinted towards Biggs with the knife raised. Biggs fired one shot, striking Saabedra in the shoulder. The man continued to charge towards Biggs, who fired two more shots.
The suspect died of his gun shot injuries.
The attack happened at 10:26 p.m., about two hours after the initial call to police.
Pearson said Biggs felt he had to take some action to protect his life. Deputy Olsen said he too feared Biggs could have been killed. The prosecutor determined Biggs' action was justifiable.
According to investigators, there was much video evidence of the confrontation, but none of the actual shooting.
You can read the full text of the Prosecutor's report here.