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Idaho Police Officer Hit by Shrapnel in Shooting

BUHL, Idaho -- Residents were on edge Tuesday as police from multiple agencies searched the county for a man police say shot at an officer, injuring him.

Buhl police officer Benny Torres was hit with shrapnel when Victor Soria, 40, fired shots toward him from inside a residence, Twin Falls County Sheriff's spokeswoman Lori Stewart said.

Torres and a Twin Falls County sheriff's deputy responded to a report of a domestic dispute at 2:40 a.m. at 49 Manor Drive in Buhl.

Torres received a piercing injury to the buttocks from an unknown fragment after shots were fired. Police did not return fire, Stewart said.

Soria's wife and two children were home at the time of the shooting, she said.

Later Tuesday, police released Soria's photo to media statewide and asked the public to call 911 with his whereabouts. He was arrested in Provo, Utah Tuesday afternoon after being spotted near Provo by a Utah County deputy on Interstate 15. That deputy already had someone in custody, and couldn't arrest Soria at the time, said Stewart said. Another deputy spotted Soria soon after and he was taken into custody without any problems, said Stewart.

"I woke up to 'boom boom boom boom!'" said Soria's neighbor Denise Servin. "I thought, 'what the hell is hitting my house?'"

Police believe Soria fired a rifle at the responding officers.

Servin's bedroom window faces Soria's house, she said. Servin said she heard running, someone say "We have shots fired," then, heard several more shots.

"I was really scared," she said. "I thought I was dreaming at first."

After she calmed down, Servin's thoughts turned to her children.

"It's a trailer park; it's not made of brick," she said.

Servin said her children were OK and doesn't believe any rounds hit her house. She said later Tuesday that a round had pierced her vehicle's bumper.

Torres is well known in Buhl and Servin said she's glad his injuries were not serious.

"I'm glad that Benny's OK. We all know Benny," she said. "He's a good guy."

Thomas Powell lives down the street from the shooting scene. He heard shots being fired early Tuesday and called 911.

"I just knew they weren't on my TV," he said. "They were too close."

The neighborhood is usually quiet, he said.

The officer was transported by ground ambulance to St. Luke's Magic Valley with non-life-threatening injuries, and was treated and released, Stewart said.

The nearby Oasis Stop 'N Go was temporarily closed as a precaution while police searched for Soria. Employee Evelyn Caliz arrived at work about 6 a.m. to see police vehicles lining the street. The normally 24-hour store was closed from about 2:40 a.m. until 5 a.m., she said.

Caliz said she recognized Soria as a regular customer at the store.

Prior to Soria's arrest, dispatchers received another shots fired call. It was a false alarm, said Buhl Police Officer Bill Deetz. The sound was an industrial-strength nail gun, he said.

Ashley Smith and Julie Wootton contributed to this report.

Copyright 2014 - The Times-News, Twin Falls, Idaho

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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