Adams County Deputy Brian Wood is using Facebook posts to defend his role in the shooting of Council rancher Jack Yantis.
State and federal prosecutors announced in July they would not press charges against the two Adams County deputies for killing Yantis last Nov. 1 because they said they did not have sufficient evidence to convict Wood and Deputy Cody Roland. Advocates for prosecuting the deputies reacted with disbelief and criticized the decision.
In Facebook posts Thursday, Wood appeared to be responding to people who were arguing for his prosecution and repeated his account of events, which was detailed in investigative materials released by the Idaho Attorney General’s Office and publicized by the Statesman and other local media.
In two long Facebook posts, Wood argued that Yantis conducted himself with a “complete disregard for human life” in the way he handled his rifle after he was called to put down his bull, which had been hit by a car outside the Yantis ranch. Wood said Yantis positioned himself so that firing at the bull would have meant firing toward emergency workers and victims at the crash site, and Yantis ignored repeated commands to point his gun down.
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Wood’s account on Facebook didn’t vary much from the interviews he gave during the investigation into the shooting. He asserted that he heard Yantis fire his weapon before Wood fired his own weapon and that the rancher swung his rifle toward Roland.
“Recognizing Yantis’s obvious threat, or attempt, to murder Deputy (Roland), I raised my rifle toward Yantis's chest,” Wood posted on Facebook. “While I was raising my rifle, I heard a gunshot. I believe the gunshot was from Yantis’s rifle. The next shot I heard was from my own rifle ... I also heard Deputy (Roland’s) handgun firing.”
Investigators found that Yantis was shot 12 times. The rancher’s wife, Donna Yantis, and nephew Rowdy Paradis were at the scene. Their accounts of events are much different than the deputies’ accounts.
Wood and Roland remain on leave, and it has not been announced whether they will be able to return to their jobs with the sheriff’s office.
Read Wood’s posts here: