Few new details released in shooting at local convenience store

Crime Watch

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CHUBBUCK — The Bannock County Prosecutor’s Office has sealed the case involving a shooting at a Chubbuck convenience store last month between two men with business ties that left one dead and the other in jail.

Authorities identified the victim who died at the scene on Sep. 29 as Robert Phelps, 38, of Chubbuck, and the alleged shooter as Anthony Leinweber, also 38, of Chubbuck, and confirmed the two knew each other through business dealings, but few other details have been released.

When a case is sealed it means additional information on what happened is not currently available to the media or the public.

Bannock County Prosecutor Steve Herzog said Wednesday that he couldn’t comment on the case other than the case is sealed, the investigation is ongoing and Leinweber has a preliminary hearing scheduled sometime in early November.

“It’s a probable cause hearing where the court makes a determination that the state has sufficient evidence to establish probable cause,” Herzog said.

“The case is sealed because of a judicial order. (The Prosecutor’s Office) can ask for it and if the judge approves it, he will issue the order sealing the case.”

Herzog added the reason for sealing a case is that the investigation is ongoing and the prosecutor’s office does not want information contained within police reports entering the public domain.

“This could impact the police’s ability to talk to witnesses,” Herzog said. “We don’t want the witnesses to have read information that could somehow cloud their recollection of what happened or influence their statement at all.”

Further, Herzog said that once the preliminary hearing is complete, the court case should be unsealed.

The shooting occurred at approximately 2:15 p.m. on Sep. 29 in front of the Jacksons convenience store along the 5000 block of Yellowstone Avenue after Leinweber pulled into the store’s parking lot in a black Mercedes-Benz sedan.

After Leinweber had gone into the store to make a purchase and returned to his car, Phelps approached Leinweber’s parked vehicle from the passenger side, authorities said.

While Leinweber sat in his car, an argument ensued between him and Phelps with Phelps standing next to the passenger side of the car, authorities said. Leinweber then exited his car and allegedly shot Phelps once in the face or head area with a pistol, authorities said. Phelps died at the scene.

Bannock County Coroner Kim Quick previously said Phelps was shot once in the head area but after conducting an autopsy of Phelps’ body, Quick said Phelps was shot in the chest.

Quick also said that Phelps was alive after being shot and people attempted to provide aid at the scene; however, his injuries were so severe that he could not be resuscitated.

Authorities said that Phelps was unarmed when he initiated an argument with Leinweber.

A witness at the scene said Phelps owned a local auto repair shop, and that Leinweber was a former employee at the shop. Both Leinweber and Phelps were friends at one point but had a falling out leading up to the shooting, the witness said.

Authorities said they don’t yet know what specific issue caused the disagreement between Phelps and Leinweber that led to the argument and then the shooting.

This story originally appeared in the Idaho State Journal. It is posted here with permission.

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