Two Arrested After Shootout in Idaho Falls Temple Parking Lot
Two men have been arrested after reportedly shooting at one another during an altercation that took place outside the Idaho Falls Idaho Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
According to news outlets, 28-year-old Austin Kuck went to confront 23-year-old Frederick Free because he believed Free had taken part in a recent break-in at his home. The two met in the parking lot of the temple early Sunday evening. Based on current reports, the meeting seems to have been pre-arranged. It is unclear why the meeting took place in the temple parking lot or if any involved are members of the Church. Kuck found his digital video recorder in Free’s truck and an argument ensued.
At some point during the argument, Free pulled out a gun. Kuck asked if Free intended to shoot him. After responding “yes,” Free shot Kuck in the hand and fled in his truck. An unidentified woman was driving the truck. Kuck then shot at least five times at the vehicle as it drove away. A witness in the parking lot confirms the events and security footage was provided by the temple security guard. Kuck reported the incident to authorities at approximately 7:30 p.m. and was taken to a local hospital to be treated. Shell casings and blood were both found in the parking lot.
Free has been charged with aggravated battery and possession of a controlled substance after he was found with fentanyl pills. The combined charges are punishable with up to 21 years in prison. Kuck’s self-defense claim was dismissed because the vehicle was leaving the scene when he fired his gun. Kuck has been charged with aggravated assault and unlawful discharge of a weapon at an occupied vehicle. Those charges each carry a maximum sentence of five years.
Temples of the Church generally have robust security systems, including a team of security guards, security cameras, and alert systems within the temple itself.