An Idaho man is accused of stalking a family and gunning down their 11-year-old boy following a crazed apocalyptic rant at a rural trailer park.
Benjamin Poirier, 44, warned of the world coming to an end before fatally shooting the youngster inside a mobile home in Horseshoe Bend, Idaho on Sunday, authorities said. Poirier was arrested by Idaho State Police and charged with first-degree murder, online jail records show.
The shooting occurred around 10:25 p.m. in a trailer park located on Canyon Street in the small Idaho town, the Associated Press reported. Poirier allegedly fired several gunshots into a family’s trailer, striking and killing an 11-year-old boy inside in a seemingly unprovoked attack. The child, who was in his room at the time of the attack, was struck by multiple rounds. The youngster, who police haven't named, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Poirier wasn’t known to the victim or his family, but investigators suspect he followed the family home from a local grocery store.
“He specifically targeted that family,” Det. Jack Catlin told Oxygen.com.
Catlin said Poirier trailed the family back to the mobile park, and lingered there, before approaching the family’s unit. He allegedly began shooting when the family closed the door of their trailer.
“[When they] shut the door, and that’s when he opened fire on that specific trailer,” the detective said.
Catlin, who called the 11-year-old’s shooting a “tragedy,” said investigators are perplexed as to what led Poirier to become infatuated with the family. The state police lieutenant claimed Poirier and the 11-year-old’s family didn’t even speak when they were supposedly at the grocery store at the same time.
“There wasn’t an altercation, there wasn’t a conversation,” Catlin stated. “He just saw them and fixated on that family.”
Catlin said the Poirier is from Emmett, a small town roughly 20 miles west of Horse Shoe Bend. Local authorities hadn’t had prior contact with the 44-year-old prior to the shooting.
[He’s] just an outsider — not from town, doesn't know anybody in the park, just chose this place,” Jon Dufresne, the mobile park’s owner, told KTVB.
Dufresne also said that Poirier ranted about Armageddon before allegedly shooting up the family’s mobile home unit.
“[He] left his car down the road, walked around with a gun shouting, 'It's the end of the world,' 'It's time to die,' things like that,” he said.
Some park residents watched in horror as the armed man strode through the park and allegedly discharged live rounds.
"[He] got out, and yelled, 'This is the end of the world,' and started shooting holes in that house," Bob Drake, another neighbor, told KTVB.
Police haven’t yet released a motive. It’s unclear if Poirier’s rant about the world ending was related to the currently unfolding COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’re still trying to figure out his end of the world comments — that we don’t know,” Catlin, the Idaho state police detective, said.
The family had lived at the park for three years, the Associated Press reported. Their son attended a local elementary school.
"He was over here at our place, him and some other kids, often,” Drake explained. “Every day. A real clean-cut, polite boy."
The mobile park’s owner also described the slain child as “soft-spoken, gentle," and the “sweetest, most polite little boy.”
“[He] always said 'yes sir, no sir,’” Dufresne said. "His family was one of the nicest families I know of."
Poirier is being held without bond at an Ada County jail. He’s scheduled to appear at a Boise courthouse for a preliminary appearance on March 30 at 11 a.m., according to the Ada County Clerk’s Office.
Poirier’s private attorney Robert Chastain didn’t respond to Oxygen.com’s request for comment on Tuesday.
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