Inquest jury determines Ranchos shooting was criminal | RecordCourier.com

Inquest jury determines Ranchos shooting was criminal

Minden, Nev. — The shooting that claimed the life of a Gardnerville Ranchos teenager last summer was determined to be criminal homicide on Thursday.

Ian Toepfer, 19, died of a single shot to the head in the driveway of the home at 706 Ann Way on Aug. 18, 2015, according to the inquest jury empaneled to examine the case.

Jurors further ruled that the shooter was John Stalcup, 56-year-old boyfriend to Toepfer's grandmother.

On Thursday the three-member panel listened to testimony, a video interview with Stalcup, and a tape of the 911 call made just as the fatal shot was fired.

The jury got the case at 5 p.m. and deliberated for less than an hour before rendering a verdict.

Deputy District Attorney Brian Filter, who presented the case, said afterward that the verdict doesn't require that charges be filed.

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"We will look at the case in light of the verdict and make a charging decision," he said. "The verdict isn't binding, but it will be impactful on our decision."

In a video taped interview with detectives on the night of the shooting, Stalcup said he didn't intend to pull the trigger.

Stalcup did not attend an inquest on advice of attorney Derrick Lopez.

"This should never have happened," Stalcup told investigators. "Whatever I did was accidental. I didn't mean to shoot a kid. This was out of hand from the start."

Stalcup described the altercation that occurred leading up to Toepfer's shooting.

He said he was watching television when he heard Toepfer arguing with his daughter's boyfriend.

"It escalated and they took it outside," Stalcup said. "I went outside to see what was going on."

He said he told Toepfer, who had lived in the house for about three weeks, that he had to leave.

That's when Toepfer hit Stalcup in the face, knocking him to the ground.

"He punched me in the eye and knocked me down, and I was down for the count," Stalcup said. "He hit me pretty good. I told him if he came in the house I'll probably shoot him."

Stalcup didn't know it at the time, but the punch had broken the orbital bone around his eye and his nose.

Toepfer was taken away from the scene by his grandmother Raylene Jaskowski, so he wasn't there when deputies responded to the Ann Way home.

After talking to everyone, Deputy Dave Button filled out a private party arrest form for Toepfer for batter and had Stalcup sign it.

Under Toepfer's address, the deputy put down transient after Stalcup told him Toepfer wasn't welcome at the home.

Button testified he asked Stalcup if Toepfer would come back that night.

"He said that if he did, he might have to take matters into his own hands," Button said.

Button testified that he told Stalcup that he had a right to defend his property, but suggested calling deputies instead. He said he offered that advice no fewer than three times that night.

At some point during the evening, Stalcup went to his Jeep and removed a .25-caliber Berretta and put it in the drawer of his toolbox.

Button said he drove through the neighborhood looking for Toepfer and drove back by the home at 706 Ann Way. He said he saw Stalcup and Travis Atchison in the garage and waved at them.

Not long after that, Stalcup said he heard the gate open. He said he hit the button on the garage door and stepped out.

"Here comes Ian at me," he said.

Stalcup said he had the gun in his hand then, but Atchison brushed it aside and went after Toepfer, chasing him around one of the Jeeps in the driveway and tackling him on the street side.

Stalcup said he had the gun and was between the two vehicles with the gun in his hand.

"Travis tackled him toward the back of the cars, and they were swinging around and that was when the gun went off," Stalcup said. "After the gun went off, I was stunned and couldn't believe it. I wasn't planning on shooting anyone."

Stalcup told investigators Toepfer moved into the house just before his July 31, 2015, birthday. He said he wasn't happy that Jaskowski sent a bus ticket to Toepfer to come up from Bakersfield.

"I was kind of paranoid," he said. "I had a hard time sleeping at night after he moved in. I didn't trust him. The kid gave me the creeps."

But Stalcup in the day leading up to Toepfer's death, the teenager got a job at a Gardnerville fast food restaurant and was supposed to start on Aug. 19.

"He seemed like he was doing OK," Stalcup said. "He just got a job and he was supposed to start."

Instead, on that day, doctors were taking him off life support.

Stalcup said he had been drinking that day. He permitted investigators to take a blood sample to determine his blood alcohol content, and was cooperative with them that night. He was interviewed for about an hour that night before he was taken for medical treatment.

Toepfer had been living on the streets in Bakersfield after his family there told him to leave. His grandmother bought him a bus ticket to come to Gardnerville.

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