The family of an Idaho farmer, who was shot and killed by a sheriff’s deputy after one of his bulls was struck by a car, filed a lawsuit against the officer who they claim spoke of doomsday and his ‘need to kill looters’.
Jack Yantis, 62, died on November 1 after an altercation with two Adams County deputies near the town of Council that was spurred on by his 2,500-pound Gelbvieh bull, Idaho State Police said.
In their suit, the Yantis family accuses Deputy Brian Wood of having ‘an unhealthy obsession’ with guns and explosives, which he allegedly sold.
The personal AR-15 gun he used on the bull and Yantis ‘had numerous custom upgrades including a Noveske barrel, flash suppressor, and holographic sight with a magnifier,’ according to The Daily Beast.
The family of Idaho farmer, Jack Yantis (left), who was allegedly shot dead by sheriff’s deputy Brian Wood (right) after a bulls was struck by a car, filed a lawsuit against the officer who they claim was a ‘doomsday prepper’ who spoke of his ‘need to kill looters’
Yantis had been called after one of his bulls (pictured) was struck by a car and charged at emergency workers
The family also accused Wood of being a ‘doomsday prepper’ who had previously talked of the necessity of shooting people in a future doomsday scenario.
‘Deputy Wood has also long been obsessed with the idea of killing, including how to train himself to kill automatically and without remorse,’ the family claimed. ‘By late 2012, Wood was a self-described ‘survivalist’ or ‘prepper’ who believed that the collapse of society was imminent, and that it would soon be necessary to kill looters,’ according to the Daily Beast.
Last November, Yantis, his wife, his nephew, and a veterinarian friend walked into the fields to find the injured bull.
The dead rancher’s family claims the deputies had shot the bull before Yantis got to the scene with his .204-caliber rifle.
The Yantis family described the shoooting as a ‘senseless murder’. Pictured is Deputy Wood
Deputy Brian Wood had used his personal AR-15 gun to fire six non-lethal shots into the animal.
As Wood and the other officer had failed to kill the animal, they asked Yantis to put it out of its misery.
What happened next is unclear, but family members who claim they saw the shooting said Yantis aimed the gun at the animal lying on the highway pavement, the Idaho Statesman reported.
The deputies stood behind Yantis as he put the barrel a few feet from the bull’s head with his finger on the trigger and then one of them turned the rancher around and pushed him, his family said.
Relatives think the gun might have gone off accidentally and caused the deputies to open fire, with bullets striking Yantis in the chest and abdomen.
‘There was no shootout. It was a senseless murder,’ said Yantis’ daughter, Sarah.
The Yantis family also described the shooting as murder in the lawsuit that was filed on Friday.
In their suit, the family called the shots ‘wanton,’ according to The Daily Beast, adding that Wood’s ‘shooting toward the Yantis Ranch driveway posed an unnecessary danger’ to the family ‘who predictably would be coming down the driveway, in the dark, to deal with the bull’.
On the other hand, Wood claims that Yantis was pointing his rifle in a dangerous direction, and when the officer approached him, Yantis pointed the rifle at Wood’s partner.
‘Recognizing Yantis’ obvious threat, or attempt, to murder Deputy Rowland, I raised my rifle toward Yantis’ chest,’ Wood wrote, according to the Daily Beast.
‘While I was raising my rifle, I heard a gunshot. I believe the gunshot was from Yantis’ rifle. The next shot I heard was from my own rifle. I fired my rifle at Yantis’ chest multiple times.’
But the Yantis family said that’s not the real story and Jack Yantis ‘never pointed at either Deputy’.
‘The Deputies shot with intent to kill Jack, rather than to warn him or injure him. Deputy Wood shot as fast as he could.’
Investigators said it is believed that Yantis and both of the deputies fired their weapons.
The well-known cattle rancher had a criminal record and had previously been found guilty of resisting or obstructing officers, and driving under the influence, according to state records.
An illustration of what the scene was like on the highway on November 1 based on accounts from witnesses
Family members said the deputies are to blame for Yantis’ death.
‘Law enforcement should be trained to de-escalate situations,’ said Rowdy Paradis, a nephew of the Yantis’ who said he was a witness.
‘In this case, I stood ten feet away and watched two deputies escalate the situation and needlessly kill a man.’
Yantis’ wife, Donna, who was also at the scene, said she and Paradis tried to run to the fallen rancher but the deputies threw them to the ground.
She had a heart attack at the scene and had to be flown to a local hospital, where she recorded a video statement about what she said she had witnessed.
‘And then they threatened me and my nephew … threw us on the middle of Highway 95, searched us and handcuffed us, and wouldn’t let us go take care of Jack,’ she said in the video statement.
In the state’s rural areas it is common for vehicles to strike livestock and Yantis had put down animals before, according to his relatives.