Deputies give detailed account of "chaotic scene" in Yantis shooting

Posted at 8:00 PM, Jul 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-29 22:14:17-04

On November 3, 2015, Adams County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Cody Roland was interviewed by Idaho State Police Sergeant Boone and ISP detective Jason Horst.

Roland told investigators he heard a call for a EMS needed at an injury crash about two miles north of Council, so he responded to the scene.

When he arrived, he parked behind the line of vehicles which he believed to be “a mix of first responders and people traveling on the roadway.” He ran to the crash scene.

“There were swarms of people helping at the car involved in the crash,” he said.

Roland and Deputy Brian Wood talked about trying to locate the animal involved in the crash. 

Roland told Wood he “had been to hundreds of crashes and had never seen that much glass, and whatever was hit must be laying dead somewhere.”

The two deputies soon found the large Black Angus bull near Yantis’ driveway.

“The bull had its tail up and head down, which meant he’s likely to charge you,” he told the investigators.

Roland yelled at Wood to get away from the bull. “He saw blood and a strip of hide in its left flank and believed it to be the animal involved in the crash. He warned Wood to stay away from the animal, because he felt it was “likely to be aggressive.”

The bull began to appear agitated, and they needed someone to respond to the scene. “He told Deputy Wood several times they could not shoot the bull unless they absolutely had to,” the report said.

They felt shooting the bull with only a handgun may only agitate it more. Wood had his rifle ready, in case the bull charged. Roland told Wood he would “be lucky if the rifle did anything to the bull.”

The bull turned toward them and took a step. He threw his arms up, and the bull stopped. This happened several times, and, each time, the bull kept working its way closer.

A short time later, a four-wheeler pulled up on the scene, with a man and woman inside.

The man –- later identified as Jack Yantis -– told officers, “Get that piece of (expletive deleted) away from my animal.” Roland told investigators “He will never forget for the rest of his life and felt he should have acted on it then. He assumned Yantis was talking about Wood’s rifle.” He understood Yantis was upset; like other ranchers had been in similar cases he had handled. He said ranchers are protective of their animals.

Yantis walked around the side of the bull and the deputies thought he was going to shoot it under the ear. Roland said he got ready to say something to Yantis, who then moved around to the head of the bull. It appeared Yantis was trying to decide where to shoot the animal.

“Yantis suddenly pulled up like he was going to shoot straight south,” Roland told the investigators. “The female (Donna Yantis) was behind the bull to the south, along with EMS personnel.”

He was not going to let Yantis shoot in the direction where he could potentially harm the others.

Yantis then re-aimed “like he was trying to shoot anyway and Wood tried to intervene.”

Roland didn’t know if Wood grabbed the gun or pushed the gun, but he used his left hand to try to stop the situation.

“Yantis, for whatever reason, shoved Wood sideways,” the report said. “Wood’s left leg was in the air and he hopped to the side on his right foot.”

“As soon as Wood lost control of Yantis’ loaded gun, he reached down to try to unholster his pistol.”

“He did not want Yantis to turn on anyone. Yantis pulled up and fired from the hip. By the time Yantis was facing (Wood), he did not know how far he had drawn his pistol, but it was almost simultaneous.”

He heard the blast from the rifle.

“He knew he was zeroed in on Yantis' rifle and had some tunnel vision because he didn't recall anything from the peripheral. All he remembered was zeroing in on Yantis' rifle,” said the report.

“He thought he might be way off, but he estimated he fired three or four rounds.   

At that point, Wood believed he had been hit.“When the rifle went off, the best way he could explain it was to say he felt a light breeze on his leg, and a heavy one (breeze) underneath his armpit, between his armpit and the side protection on his vest. He had a pain in his ribs,” according to the report.

“He remembered after the first shot, Yantis was fidgeting with the gun. Some of it was super-slow motion in his head, he knew it was seconds -- if not hundredths of seconds, but the gun going off was like ten minutes in his head,” Wood said.

“The last shot he fired, he remembered the rifle barrel went back down and Yantis started going backwards,
back and to Yantis' right. When Yantis' gun barrel went down, he stopped firing. If he remembered correctly, he could not fire anymore because he lost his balance and did not know where the bullet would have gone,” the report said.

“When the gun barrel went down and Yantis started to tip, it was the last shot he fired at Yantis.

“There was a skidsteer (also known as a skid loader) which was in the southbound lane. The man driving the loader -– later identified as Rowdy Paradis, the Yantis’ nephew -- began screaming and yelling. The woman (Donna Yantis, Jack Yantis’ wife) also began and yelling. 

“(Roland) backed up to get behind Paradis and Donna Yantis and began giving them commands to get on the ground,” the report stated.

The deputy saw Wood grab Yantis' rifle and throw it aside.

Paradis complied after several commands to get on the ground and was then handcuffed.

“He holstered his pistol and attempted to handcuff Donna Yantis. He cuffed her left hand, but she was physically unable to put her right hand behind her back. He patted her down for weapons and allowed her sit on the four-wheeler after he searched it for weapons,” the report said.

Donna Yantis was screaming at him "Why did you shoot him?" He replied to Donna Yantis, "Because he shot me in the side."

After Donna Yantis and Paradis were back at the four-wheeler, he remembered Wood ran over to him and started pulling his shirt up and running his (Wood's) hand up his side and asked him, "Where are you hit?” He told Wood "I don't know. I'm not seeing any blood."

A man (later identified as Joe Rumsey, a neighbor) came to the scene and started talking to Paradis about how the deputies shot Yantis for no reason. Rumsey began picking up shell casings.

“The deputy grabbed Rumsey by the back of the coat and told Rumsey he was under arrest for tampering with a major crime scene. Rumsey didn't throw the casings off the road, and he didn't know how many casings Rumsey had picked up, but believed at least one of them were from his pistol. Rumsey tossed the casings back on the ground,” the report read.

The deputies got Rumsey handcuffed and sat him in Wood's pickup.

“They spoke with Rumsey and got him calmed down. He told Rumsey whatever happened was not up to him or Wood, it would be up to the Idaho State Police if Rumsey would be arrested.

“It was a chaotic scene and they were short on help. At some point during the incident, he radioed dispatch requesting anyone else who was responding, needed to hurry.”