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Officers justified in shooting that left one dead, investigation finds

Crime Watch

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POCATELLO — Investigation by the Bannock County Prosecutor’s Office has determined that officers involved in an October shooting that left one man dead were justified.

Prosecutor Steven Herzog reviewed the Critical Incident Task Force memorandum following an outside investigation conducted by the Bingham County Sheriff’s Office, according to a Bannock County news release. Herzog determined the “use of deadly force was warranted under Idaho law,” the release reads.

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The report details what happened on Oct. 13 between Soda Springs and McCammon.

A deputy from the Caribou County Sheriff’s Office made contact with 41-year-old Buddy Byron McKenzie, of Richland, Washington, around 3:30 p.m. that day. McKenzie was parked in front of a home on South 2nd Street in Soda Springs at the time of the police contact.

After providing the deputy with a false identification, the release says, McKenzie attempted to flee. The deputy was able to get in front of McKenzie’s truck near an auto dealership, with the vehicles facing each other. McKenzie shot at the deputy with a firearm before again fleeing.

As members of multiple law enforcement agencies pursued McKenzie on U.S. Highway 30, at speeds exceeding 100 mph, McKenzie dialed 911, telling a Caribou County dispatcher that he would cause a head-on collision and kill someone if officers did not end their pursuit. During the chase, McKenzie allegedly fired several more shots at pursuing officers.

Officers were eventually able to disable McKenzie’s vehicle with a PIT maneuver near East Merrill Road in McCammon.

Officers from four law enforcement agencies surrounded McKenzie’s vehicle and ordered him to drop his weapon. When McKenzie instead aimed his weapon at the officers, nine officers opened fire, killing him.

At the time of the incident, McKenzie had an outstanding warrant for attempted murder in Yakima County, Washington.

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According to multiple reports, McKenzie was wanted for shooting a woman, 37-year-old Lupe Torres in the parking lot of a casino. Officers responding to 911 calls found Torres alive, with a gunshot wound to the stomach and transported her to a local hospital. She told officers that McKenzie fired a second shot at her before fleeing in his vehicle.

McKenzie was pronounced dead at the scene following the chase.