Man squatting in home led to standoff and fatal shootout Sunday, sheriff says
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EDITORS NOTE: This story has been updated to include the name of the suspect killed in the standoff
FIRTH — A man who died following a shootout with deputies in Bingham County Sunday was squatting in the home.
Bingham County Sheriff Craig Rowland tells EastIdahoNews.com that Bruce Diehl, 51, of Shelley, had been in the house for at least a couple of weeks. The house, in the area of 800 North and 150 West, is under renovation and the homeowners are not currently living there.
“We tried catching up with him to tell him he’s trespassed,” Rowland said. “But he was never there.”
The homeowners hired a private security company to keep an eye on the house for the squatter. On Sunday, the security company observed Diehl pull into the house and alerted the Bingham County Sheriff’s Office. Deputies arrived around 2:30 a.m.
“We started talking to him on his cellphone trying to get him to just come out,” Rowland said. “He kept saying ‘I’ve been in here a week or two’, whatever it’s been and so now ‘I own this house.'”
Rowland explained Diehl had no legal right to be in the house. The man had never lived at the house before and only came in once the homeowners moved out for renovations.
“Diehl warned the deputies on scene that if they came into the house that they ‘would leave in a body bag,'” Rowland said in a news release.
When deputies could not get Diehl out, the Eastern Idaho STAR and Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office SWAT teams responded. From the house, the man fired shots at law enforcement, hitting a patrol car and the armored SWAT vehicle.
Rowland explained deputies sent a chemical gas into the house several times, but Diehl still refused to surrender.
Then around noon on Sunday, another set of shots were fired. During the gunfight, the man was hit by deputies, wounding him. This stopped Diehl from shooting and deputies moved in to provide aid to the man, according to Rowland.
Emergency responders attempted to save Diehl’s life, and he was taken by ambulance to Bingham County Memorial Hospital. He died of his injuries at the hospital.
The Eastern Idaho Critical Incident Task Force was called in. The multi-agency investigative task force investigates officer-involved-shootings in eastern Idaho.
The task force is also investigating three other fatal officer-involved-shootings in the past week.
On Feb. 8, an Idaho Falls man was killed after being shot by an Idaho Falls Police officer in his backyard early that morning as officers searched for a suspect.
On Saturday, an unidentified man was killed in a shootout with U.S. Marshals in Pocatello who were searching for Richard “Rocky” Iverson, an armed and dangerous fugitive wanted for lewd conduct with a minor.
Then on Monday, a 50-year-old man was shot and killed in an officer-involved-shooting outside a Rexburg apartment complex.