An Idaho Falls man has been charged with involuntary manslaughter after an investigation concluded he was negligent in accidentally shooting a bystander.
Jose Antonio Ruiz-Juarez, 34, was testing a gun he wanted to buy in May when he reportedly shot Michael Ephram, 23, in the head, killing him. Ruiz-Juarez also reportedly shot a car with a 2-year-old and 9-month old inside. Ruiz-Juarez said the shooting was an accident, and he had not seen the victim.
The shooting happened off of West Arco Highway where Ephram was also shooting guns with his brother-in-law. After the shooting, Ehpram’s wife and brother-in-law attempted to help him. They then ran to where the bullets were coming from, telling the shooter to stop. Ruiz-Juarez said this was when he realized there were people in the direction he was shooting.
Ruiz Juarez admitted to shooting the victim. Ephram’s family began driving to the hospital, stopping to transfer him when they met an ambulance. He was taken to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center, where he was declared dead.
The Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office went to the scene to gather measurements. Investigators placed police cars and personnel approximately where the involved parties would have been. They determined it was unlikely Ruiz-Juarez would have seen Ephram, his family, or the car from where he was shooting.
Ruiz-Juarez told law enforcement he did not take steps to determine what was in the direction he was shooting.
Involuntary manslaughter is punishable with up to 10 years in prison. Ruiz-Juarez’s bail was set at $15,000. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m.