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On August 13, 2021, shortly after 11:00 p.m., Idaho Falls Police Officers responded to a report of a shooting that had occurred in downtown Idaho Falls, around the 500 block of Shoup Avenue.
According to witnesses on scene a group of people were involved in an argument during which one person produced a firearm and fired a shot at another person.
The victim was struck with a single round and was transported to an area hospital by private vehicle where they were met by law enforcement. The victim received treatment from medical staff, ultimately recovered and was released from the hospital.
Initial accounts from witnesses on scene led investigators to believe that Cristian Sanchez had shot the victim. These initial accounts included multiple witnesses who independently stated that they believed Sanchez was the shooter.
On August 18, 2021, Sanchez was located and interviewed by Idaho Falls Police Detectives. Sanchez denied involvement in the shooting. Sanchez was also asked about a video posted on social media by another person, Nikolaus Garcia, who claimed responsibility for the shooting. Sanchez confirmed that he and Garcia had been together that night but stated that Garcia had not shot anyone. Based on information known at the time, Sanchez was arrested for Felony Aggravated Battery by Use of a Deadly Weapon.
Through continued investigation, Idaho Falls Police Detectives located additional evidence that indicated that the second person on scene during the shooting, Nikolas Garcia, was actually the shooter. This evidence includes video that clearly shows Garcia and Sanchez arguing with the victim, and Garcia ultimately shooting the victim.
Idaho Falls Police Detectives requested an arrest warrant for Garcia and an alteration to Sanchez’s charges, which were both granted.
Yesterday, October 7, 2021, the Idaho Falls Police Department received a call from Garcia who stated that he wanted to come to the station to pick up a firearm that had been seized as evidence in a previous incident. The Idaho Falls Police employee who spoke with Garcia invited him to come to the station.
Idaho Falls Police Detectives patrolled the path that they knew Garcia was likely to take and located Garcia near the intersection of Bannock and Elva where he was taken into custody without incident.
Nikolaus Garcia, a 24-year-old Idaho Falls resident, was arrested for Felony Aggravated Battery with Use of a Deadly Weapon and was taken to the Bonneville County Jail.
Cristian Sanchez, a 23-year-old male resident of Idaho Falls, remains in custody at the Bonneville County Jail on an amended charge of Felony Accessory to Aggravated Battery.