A former Idaho Falls city councilman will spend the next two years in prison for attempting to shoot and kill a man at City Hall.
District Judge Dane Watkins Jr. sentenced Gary Bruce Rose, 65, to a minimum of two years in prison and up to 15 years for the attempted shooting, which was only prevented because the gun failed to fire twice.
“He fully intended to murder me,” the victim said in an impact statement before sentencing. “If it had not been for God’s intervention or a mechanical intervention, I would not be here today.”
Rose, who served on the city council between 2000 and 2002, went to the Idaho Falls City Annex on Aug. 11, 2021, with the gun and tried to shoot the victim when the gun failed. The two then struggled and Rose hit the victim in the head with the gun before employees restrained him and called the police.
Both the victim and Defense Attorney Curtis Smith revealed during sentencing that Rose was motivated by a difficult divorce the victim was going through with Rose’s daughter, though they disagreed on how it played into Rose’s actions.
The victim said in his impact statement that he believes Rose was trying to kill him because of a court custody ruling.
Smith, however, said Rose was angry because he believed the victim was abusing his daughter. Smith said Rose originally intended to talk to the victim before later deciding to attempt to shoot him.
In his impact statement, the victim said he had suffered night terrors after the shooting. He said he had used more sick time from work due to his mental health, and that he was looking to move away from the area out of fear of his in-laws.
Smith focused his statements on two lines of argument: that a person should not be judged solely for their worst action, and that the context for Rose’s actions were key to understanding the case.
Smith said his client had no criminal history, and had cooperated with law enforcement and pretrial services as the case proceeded. He also said that his client’s actions were the product of parental instincts. Smith offered no details on the nature of the alleged abuse.
“We have 63 years of a positive, impactful life, versus one act,” Smith said.
Bonneville County Chief Deputy Prosecutor John Dewey said that “one act” was too serious for a sentence less than prison. He argued for two years, the most allowed in the plea agreement, pointing out that if the gun had worked properly, they’d be discussing a murder case.
“(Rose) took every action and every decision needed to kill a person,” Dewey said.
Rose offered an apology in his statement.
“I am truly sorry. My heart and soul are full of sorrow, especially for (the victim),” Rose said.
Watkins agreed with Dewey that attempting to shoot a man was too serious an act for a probation or retained jurisdiction sentence.
“The trigger was pulled,” Watkins said. “How often does a gun misfire?”
Watkins described the misfire as “a miracle.”
The sentence Watkins handed down had a longer indeterminate period than the eight years Dewey had recommended. Watkins said he would have also increased the fixed two-year sentence, but he was sympathetic to an argument by Smith that Rose’s 19 months of house arrest had already been a significant punishment.
In addition to serving time in prison, Rose will have to pay a combined $10,000 in fines.
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