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Two Garden City police officers have been cleared of any wrongdoing in the fatal shooting of a 58-year-old man earlier this year in Ada County.

During a Thursday news conference in Garden City, police released the details surrounding the shooting of Thomas Bunde, who pointed a gun at officers and threatened them. The department also released footage from body-worn cameras depicting the shooting.

Valley County Prosecutor Brian Naugle ruled that the two officers who fired their guns at Bunde on April 13 were justified in using lethal force, and his office has declined to file any criminal charges.

After the shooting, all investigative reports were routed from the Ada County Prosecutor’s Office to Naugle’s office, which reviewed all evidence. The legal conclusions made by Naugle were disclosed to the Garden City Police Department on Tuesday.

Garden City Police Chief Rick Allen declined to name the two officers who shot and killed Bunde, saying “people like to target police sometimes, they make threats against police.”

Allen said that all three of the officers present for the shooting had no previous critical incidents on their records.

‘I’LL BLOW YOUR F** HEAD OFF,’ HE TOLD GARDEN CITY POLICE
Garden City officers responded to a home in the 5100 block of North Quinella Street on reports of a domestic disturbance. Two officers present had their body cameras turned on and recording the incident, while a third had an audio recording.

Both body camera videos were played Thursday. The first showed an officer approach the front of the house and begin speaking with a woman, who told officers she “scratched” Bunde and he might need medical attention. An officer then knocked on the front door of the home, and Bunde responded by saying he needed to “put some pants on.” Allen said that at this point, officers believed Bunde to be the victim in this incident.

After a few moments, Bunde walked through the front door holding a gun, saying “I’ll blow your f** head off.”

Allen said that all three of the officers present for the shooting had no previous critical incidents on their records.

Officers immediately reacted and told him to drop the gun — just seconds before gunshots rang out. The video shows Bunde falling to the ground, with police then placing him in handcuffs and trying to treat his injuries. Blood could be seen on the hands of an officer before the footage showed him running to a squad car for a medic bag.

Allen said Bunde was close enough to the officer in the doorway to touch the hat he was wearing, and footage from a body camera facing a different angle shows Bunde within arm’s length of that officer after walking out of the home. T

Bunde died from his injuries at the scene.

Officers later learned that the revolver Bunde was holding was not loaded. According to Allen, the woman had taken the gun and hid it from Bunde after a prior incident between them. She did not know that Bunde had found the gun.

Allen added that toxicology reports revealed Bunde’s blood alcohol level to be .24 at the time of his death, which is three times above the legal driving limit.


The GCPD chief commended his officers’ efforts throughout the ordeal. Allen said his thoughts and prayers also are with Bunde’s family.

“Unfortunately, with situations like this, there are no winners,” Allen said. “There are merely survivors.”

Bunde’s death was the first fatal police shooting in the Treasure Valley in 2021 and the fifth to take place in Idaho this year. Two more fatal police shootings, as well as a couple without fatalities, occurred in June and July in Ada and Canyon counties.

The news conference came just days after Boise Police Chief Ryan Lee told reporters that he wanted to collaborate with officials to try to publish body camera footage of police shootings more quickly. Ada County Prosecutor Jan Bennetts later said releasing body camera footage too early can damage an investigation.
 
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