Documents provide new details in Pocatello drive-by shooting


Christopher Lee Simpkins

Christopher Lee Simpkins | Bannock County Jail

POCATELLO — Newly filed court documents show that a Chubbuck man arrested Monday for a drive-by shooting in Pocatello fired four shots at a home.

Christopher Lee Simpkins, 28, has been charged with felonies for discharging a firearm at an occupied building and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, court records show.

RELATED : Man arrested in Pocatello drive-by shooting

Pocatello police received multiple 911 calls reporting gunshots just after midnight Friday, according to an affidavit of probable cause. The shots were reported around the 900 block of South 4th Avenue.

When officers arrived, they discovered that the multiple shots were fired at a home in the area. Five people were inside the home at the time of the incident, the affidavit says.

In speaking with the residents, which included at least one juvenile, officers were told that someone fired about five shots. One of those shots entered the home through a window and struck a TV in the living room, residents told officers.

Three of the people in the home at the time of the shooting were in the room watching TV. One, the juvenile, was directly on the other side of the wall from the TV at the time.

Officers were told that the bullet hitting the TV and stopping prevented it from potentially striking the juvenile.

Officers recovered the bullet, which had lodged inside the TV.

Residents believed they knew who was responsible for the shooting, and described the person and a vehicle involved. They told officers the person would be driving a gray Subaru Impreza with a silver hood and a Raiders sticker on the rear windshield.

Moments before they received calls reporting the shooting, officers on patrol about three blocks from the shooting saw a vehicle matching that description.

Police reports show that the Subaru was traveling at a “high rate of speed” — approximately 50 mph in a 35-mph zone. It passed East Sutter Street traveling southbound on South 4th Avenue. The officer reported that the vehicle slowed below 35 mph when the driver saw the police cruiser, then signaled to turn right but instead turned left.

As the officer was en route to refuel, they decided not to pursue the vehicle.

While they searched the scene of the drive-by, officers found four spent shell casings from a 9mm semiautomatic handgun in the street in front of the home.

Officers were approached by two employees at a nearby fast-food restaurant who reported hearing the gunshots while they were taking an order. They provided officers with a receipt from the order, which provided a timestamp of 12:18 a.m.

Following a review of their patrol vehicle GPS, the officer who saw the vehicle speeding did so about three blocks from the shooting, at 12:19 a.m.

After conducting interviews at the scene, officers began to search the area for the suspect and the vehicle.

They found the vehicle a short time later, parked at 100 North Union Pacific Avenue.

Officers determined that the owner of the vehicle was inside a nearby bar. While some of the officers entered the bar to search for the suspect, others stayed with the car to prevent an escape.

Officers were able to speak with the person whose name was provided by the residents of the home.

That person admitted to being the driver when the shooting occurred but insisted they were not aware of the shooter’s intentions.

After consenting to a police search of their vehicle, the driver agreed to an interview with police.

They said they had recently been involved in an altercation with one of the people who lived at the home. And after telling a friend, Simpkins, while the two and another friend were drinking alcohol, Simpkins said they should go to the home.

In a later interview with a third person who was in the car at the time of the shooting, that account was corroborated. The third person also said they had been involved in an altercation with a different resident of the home and that they thought Simpkins’ plan was to fight one of the resident.

The driver was also under the impression that Simpkins had planned to fight someone.

As they neared the home however, the driver noticed that lights inside the house were off. So they decided not to stop. As they were passing the home, the driver said Simpkins leaned out the passenger window of the car and fired several shots at the home.

The other passenger said they were looking at their phone before being startled by the gunshots.

Both driver and passenger told officers that they had no idea Simpkins planned to shoot at the home, or that he even had a gun.

After the shooting, the trio went to the bar where officers found the driver.

Once they arrived, the passenger called for a ride and went home.

The driver told officers that Simpkins left the bar shortly before they arrived.

Officers searched the Subaru and found nothing of evidentiary value. Neither the driver or passenger were detained.

The following day, an officer with the Pocatello police received a call from a man who identified himself as Simpkins.

Simpkins told the officer he was “freaking out” because he heard police were looking for him. The officer told Simpkins they wanted to question him about his connection to the shooting.

According to the Bannock County Sheriff’s Office, Simpkins was taken into police custody on the 1200 block of Yellowstone Avenue.

Simpkins is currently being held at Bannock County Jail on a $100,000 bond. If he does post bond, no-contact orders would be issued barring him from contact with the residents of the home.

Though Simpkins has been charged with these crimes, it does not necessarily mean he committed them. Everyone is presumed innocent until they are proven guilty.

If found guilty, Simpkins could face up to 20 years in prison and $100,000 in fines.

He is scheduled to appear in court for a preliminary before magistrate Judge Aaron Thomson on June 22.

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