There was another officer-involved shooting on Thursday, marking the 11th shooting incident in Eastern Idaho in less than two weeks.
The latest incident took place near Blackfoot.
Fort Hall resident Tymber Pongah, 26, sustained a non-life threatening gunshot wound after he allegedly led officers on a pursuit, rammed their vehicles and drove toward a deputy.
The incident started when a Bingham County Sheriff’s deputy patrolling in the area of Highway 91 near Sage Hill noticed a white car without license plates on Thursday night.
The deputy stopped the vehicle and a Fort Hall police officer also responded to the scene.
The deputy asked the female driver, whose name was not released, to exit the vehicle. As she did so, her passenger, identified as Pongah, moved into the driver’s seat, Bingham County sheriff’s officials said.
“The officers attempted to stop Pongah from driving away and Pongah dragged both the deputy and the Fort Hall officer down the road for a short distance,” according to a news release from the sheriff’s office. “A pursuit ensued forcing deputies to spike Pongah’s vehicle two times.”
The car eventually came to a stop on Highway 39 and deputies boxed it in with their vehicles. At that point, Pongah allegedly started ramming the vehicles with his car.
A deputy exited his patrol vehicle to approach the car, and sheriff’s officials say Pongah pointed his car at the deputy and drove toward him.
“The deputy was in fear for his life and drew his weapon and fired once at the attacking vehicle and struck Pongah,” according to the news release. “Pongah stopped after being struck and deputies took him into custody.”
Pongah was transported by ambulance to Portneuf Medical Center in Pocatello for treatment and then booked into the Bingham County Jail.
Pongah has since been charged with two counts of aggravated assault or battery upon certain personnel and one count of fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer in a motor vehicle, all felonies, according to Bingham County Magistrate Court records.
Pongah is also facing three misdemeanor crimes. He’s been charged with two counts of injury to children for transporting minors in a vehicle while under the influence since, officials say, there were children in the car. He’s also been charged with resisting or obstructing officers, according to court records.
There have been five other shootings involving officers in recent weeks, four of which resulted in fatalities.
On Friday, authorities held a press conference about an officer-involved shooting that took place at Brenchley Apartments in Rexburg on Monday.
Troy A. Allen, 50, of Rexburg, died in that incident.
Rexburg police say Allen allegedly entered another person’s apartment illegally.
The female victim told police that Allen had forced himself into the apartment while looking for another person who was not there. She felt threatened and was afraid Allen would strike her.
The victim asked police to charge Allen, who also lived at Brenchley, with breaking and entering and wanted him trespassed from her apartment.
Police located Allen in one of the building’s hallways.
The suspect, who was known to police, allegedly lied about his name, refused to give officers his identification and didn’t comply when they asked him to remove his hand from his pocket, Rexburg Police Chief Shane Turman said.
Shortly after, Allen came at the officers in an aggressive manner with his hand still in his pocket, Turman said, adding that officers retreated as far as they could and continued to order him to remove his hand from his pocket.
When Allen closed the distance between himself and the officers, they fired at him and he collapsed, Turman said. Allen succumbed to his injuries at the scene.
Turman did not say whether Allen was armed due to an ongoing investigation by the Eastern Idaho Critical Incident Task Force. But he did say, “The manner in which he acted would leave me, as an officer if I was on the scene, to believe that he was armed.”
On Friday, authorities also released the name of an officer involved in a shooting incident in Idaho Falls on Feb. 8, which resulted in the death of a local man, Joseph Johnson, 37.
Idaho Falls Police Department officials say Elias Cerdas, who has been with the department since November 2019, is the one who discharged his weapon. He remains on administrative leave pending an investigation into the incident, which is standard protocol.
The Feb. 8 shooting occurred while officers were searching for Tanner Shoesmith, 22, who was wanted on a warrant and had allegedly fled during a traffic stop.
The victim, Johnson, was in his backyard armed with a gun and wearing clothing similar to Shoesmith when the officer shot him, authorities said. Shoesmith was arrested nearby a short time later.
On Feb. 11, Chubbuck police officers tried to stop Talon Cavanaugh, 26, of Idaho Falls, who was wanted in connection to a shooting incident in Bonneville County a few days before — he allegedly broke into his ex-wife’s home and fired a gun into the wall just over her head.
Cavanaugh allegedly also fired at Chubbuck officers on Feb. 11 when they tried to pull him over and led them on a high-speed chase and foot pursuit. He was eventually taken into custody.
On Feb. 13, a U.S. Marshal fatally shot a suspect in Pocatello while attempting to apprehend Blackfoot fugitive Richard “Rocky” Iverson, 43, who was wanted on lewd conduct charges.
U.S. Marshals spotted Iverson and Brandon Stecklein, 42, of Blackfoot, in a pickup truck in Pocatello.
A high-speed pursuit ensued, ending when the truck crashed into the fence of the Pocatello Police Department’s parking lot behind City Hall.
Iverson reportedly fled the scene on foot, but was later apprehended, authorities said. Stecklein allegedly opened fire on the U.S. Marshals and was fatally shot. He died at the scene.
On Feb. 14, a Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office SWAT team officer fatally shot Bruce Diehl, 51, of Shelley, in an abandoned home in the Rose-Firth area.
Diehl allegedly told the deputies they would “leave in a body bag” if they entered the house, and fired multiple shots at officers and their vehicles, according to a news release from the Bingham County Sheriff’s Office.
There have also been four other shooting incidents that didn’t involve officers in recent weeks. Two of them occurred on Tuesday.
Blackfoot police responded to the 700 block of South Broadway on Tuesday night following a report of multiple gunshots.
At the scene, they located a 29-year-old Blackfoot man who had sustained a gunshot wound.
The man was transported by ambulance to an undisclosed hospital for treatment and has since been released, authorities said.
The Blackfoot Police/Bingham County Sheriff Joint Detective Team is investigating that shooting and no arrests have been made.
They’re asking anyone with information that may prove helpful to the case to contact Bingham County dispatch at 208-785-1234.
Another shooting, which occurred in Bonneville County on Tuesday night, involved two men who got into an altercation on the 3100 block of North Yellowstone Avenue.
Bonneville County sheriff’s deputies responded to the scene.
One of the men had sustained a gunshot wound and was transported to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls. Deputies were later advised that the victim was on life support and is not expected to survive.
The other man was detained and questioned on Tuesday night. He’s no longer in custody, but is cooperating with deputies as they investigate what led up to the confrontation, authorities said.
Officials have not yet released the names of any of the men involved in the Tuesday night Blackfoot and Bonneville County shootings.
On Feb. 7, there was a drive-by shooting outside of Clydesdale Bar & Lounge in Pocatello. The gunfire came from a vehicle driving along North Fifth Avenue and the bullets struck several cars parked along the roadway, police said. No injuries were reported in that incident and no arrests have been made.
Police in Chubbuck and Pocatello are also investigating a reported shooting inside a car on Monday evening.
Pocatello police said they received multiple reports around 10 p.m. that a gun had been fired inside a silver car near the Jacksons convenience store in the 1100 block of South Fifth Avenue near Idaho State University.
Chubbuck police spotted the vehicle in the area of Stuart Park, but when officers approached, the driver sped off.
A pursuit ensued but was eventually called off due to high rates of speed.
Police said there doesn’t appear to have been any injuries in the incident.
Anyone with any information about the shootings in the Pocatello area is asked to contact police at 208-234-6100.
The Standard Journal in Rexburg contributed to this report.