Deputies Shoot And Kill Rancher Defending a Bull

Screen Shot 2015-11-02 at 8.15.31 PM

COUNCIL, Idaho — Idaho State Police are investigating after a Council rancher was shot and killed Sunday by deputies with the Adams County Sheriff’s Office.

The incident began when a Subaru station wagon crashed into a bull on US 95 north of Council at about 6:45 p.m. Emergency responders and Adams County deputies responded and were working to extricate the two people inside the car. Adams County Sheriff Ryan Zollman said the bull, which was injured in the collision, started charging at emergency responders and other vehicles.

“The bull was very agitated and was aggressive to emergency services, as well as the other cars coming up and down the highway,” he said.

Deputies were getting ready to put the animal down when the bull’s owner, 62-year-old Jack Yantis, arrived on the scene with a rifle. Zollman said dispatchers had called Yantis after the crash, telling him that the bull that was hit appeared to be his, and was down on the highway near his house.

What happened next is still under investigation, but Zollman said there was an altercation and Yantis and both deputies all fired their weapons.

Yantis was fatally wounded and died at the scene. One of the deputies suffered a minor injury.

An emotional Zollman said Monday that his thoughts went out to everyone involved, and that his office took the shooting very seriously. ISP has taken over the investigation to prevent a conflict of interest.

“This is going to be a big hit to this community,” Zollman said. “The gentleman involved, Mr. Yantis, was a well-known cattle rancher around here. It’s just a sad deal for everybody involved, for the whole community.”

The deputies who shot Yantis have been placed on paid leave. Their names have not yet been released.

“To the best of my knowledge, this is the first officer-involved shooting that Adams County has ever had,” Zollman said.

Yantis’ wife, Donna Yantis, suffered a heart attack after learning that her husband had been shot, family members said. She was taken to a Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise, where she was listed in critical condition Monday.

Both people inside the Subaru were taken to a Boise hospital by air ambulance. Their conditions are unknown. The bull was killed, although authorities are still investigating whether a bullet from Yantis’ gun or one of the deputies’ weapons killed the animal.

The area where the bull was hit is open range, Zollman said, and darkness had fallen by the time the Subaru crashed into the black bull in the roadway.

“It’s not uncommon for us to have these kind of livestock versus vehicle accidents,” he said. “Typically they don’t turn out this way.”

US 95 was blocked until 3:05 a.m. The investigation is ongoing.