The Idaho Falls Police Department has identified the officer who shot and killed a man in his backyard while searching for a suspect in the early morning hours of Feb. 8.
Elias Cerdas joined the police department in November 2019 and completed his POST Academy training in July, according to the news release. He remains on paid administrative leave.
Cerdas shot and killed Joseph Johnson, 37, while searching for a suspect, 22-year-old Tanner Shoesmith, who had fled a traffic stop and was believed to be armed. Police followed a GPS signal from Shoesmith’s home to the area of Johnson’s home.
Idaho Falls Police Chief Bryce Johnson, no relation, said Joseph Johnson had a gun when he was met by police in his yard and was wearing clothing similar to Shoesmith’s. Joseph Johnson had been told by another officer that they were searching the area, police said.
Police reportedly told Joseph Johnson to put down the gun. The department said it is unclear what happened between then and Cerdas shooting him.
The Eastern Idaho Critical Incident Task Force is investigating the shooting, with Idaho State Police acting as the lead agency.
Four other officer-involved shootings have taken place in eastern Idaho over the last two weeks, three of which were fatal. There also have been several other shootings in eastern Idaho that have not involved police.