‘Bullets were flying past,’ so Idaho teen returned fire, shot home intruder

Bob (right) and Brian Packard pose for a photo in front of their home in rural Rigby on Friday afternoon. Brian, 17, was awakened by sharp banging sound Thursday. It turned out there was an intruder in the house.
Bob (right) and Brian Packard pose for a photo in front of their home in rural Rigby on Friday afternoon. Brian, 17, was awakened by sharp banging sound Thursday. It turned out there was an intruder in the house. Post Register

Brian Packard, 17, woke up to a sharp banging sound Thursday.

It was 8 a.m. Packard had worked late at Freddy’s Frozen Custard the night before, and planned to sleep in. But now he was wide awake.

What was that noise?

After the banging stopped, he walked down the hallway of his family’s rural Rigby home. In the kitchen, he saw his dad, Bob Packard, coming in the door.

“I asked what that noise was,” Brian said. “And he didn’t know what it was.”

A minute earlier, Bob had pulled his truck into the driveway after visiting a friend. He noticed the garage door was raised by a foot. It had been closed when he’d left, an hour earlier.

Bob walked in through the garage, then noticed something else that was odd: The door to the kitchen was wide open.

Minutes later, there would be a gunfight inside the Packards’ brick single-story home, sending a suspected burglar to the hospital with a wound to the abdomen.

But at that moment, as they met in the family kitchen, Brian and Bob Packard said they were just trying to figure out what was going on.

Shots fired

Bob decided to walk out to the front yard, to see if there was anyone around. That’s when he said he spotted a man trying to crawl out the family’s spare bedroom window.

The man retreated back into the room. Bob headed back inside.

Bob again met with Brian in the kitchen, and they walked down the darkened hallway toward the spare bedroom. Brian was trailing his dad, and had grabbed his shotgun out of a cabinet.

There was nobody in the spare room. Bob walked into is own room, just across the hall. The bedroom door, which locks, had been kicked open — likely producing the loud banging sound Brian had heard minutes before.

Shots rang out.

“As soon as he saw us step into the room, that’s when he started shooting at us,” Bob said. “And the bullets were flying past us. I can’t believe we didn’t get hit.”

Bullets went through a chair, a closet and a door jamb. One pierced a framed baby picture of Brian — the first photograph taken after he was born.

The man shot five or six times, Brian and Bob said. There was a pause, as the man crouched down in a corner of the bedroom.

As his father stepped back, Brian moved forward into the room and took a single shot, hitting the man in the lower abdomen.

The intruder dropped the handgun.

Suspect in hospital

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office identified the suspect as Victor resident William L. Shinkle. Officials did not provide an age, but court records show he is in his early 30s.

“Me and my dad asked him who he was,” Brian said. “And he started crawling away.”

The man crawled and walked down the hallway, through the living room, and collapsed in the Packards’ front yard, Brian and Bob said. “He was weird,” Brian said.

A deputy happened to be driving by around the time when Shinkle ended up on the Packards’ lawn.

Shinkle remained at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center on Thursday, and was in fair condition, a spokeswoman said.

Sheriff’s Capt. Lynn Parker said Shinkle was “in a lot of pain,” so investigators have had limited discussions with him. An investigation into the incident continued Friday, he said.

The Packards aren’t sure why they were targeted. They said they don’t know Shinkle. On a tour of the home Thursday, Brian noted several areas had been rummaged through, perhaps looking for valuables. There was still a patch of blood in the corner of the bedroom, and a bullet casing sat on the carpet nearby. Several holes punctured the walls.

Bob said Brian, a Rigby High School student, learned how to hunt early on in life. The duo would go hunting every year, along with Brian’s grandfather. So when Brian took quick and fearless action Thursday morning, Bob wasn’t surprised.

“He knows about guns,” he said. “If he grabs a gun and loads it, he’s ready to shoot. I couldn’t be prouder of him.”

Brian said he hasn’t thought much about the incident since discussing it with police Thursday afternoon. He worked at Freddy’s Thursday night, and was headed back for another late shift Friday afternoon.

“I never really thought I’d be in that situation,” Brian said, calmly sitting on the living room couch. “I’m just glad I went hunting a couple days before that, and left my gun cabinet unlocked.”