MURRAY, UTAH – August 20, 2015 (Gephardt Daily) – A burglary suspect who was shot in the face by a Murray police officer has been released from hospital and arrested.
Sandy Police Department said in a statement Joby James Romano was released today from IMC Hospital after being shot by Murray Police Officer J. Haas during a burglary investigation.
Romano was arrested at the time of his release from the hospital by Sandy Police Detectives and booked into the Salt Lake County Jail on suspicion of assault against a police officer, a second degree felony, burglary, a second degree felony and theft, a third degree felony.
The case has been submitted to the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office to be reviewed for formal charges.
A press release given by the Sandy City Police department states the incident happened August 9 when off duty-police officer, Officer Haas, who was en route to work, helped in responding to a burglary call around 10 a.m. Haas received word the suspect, 46-year-old Romano, of Levan, Utah, was possibly in the bathroom of Southwood Park at 6125 S. South 725 East.
Romano was previously seen entering a travel trailer and removing property without permission of the owner. A witness followed Romano to Southwood Park while reporting the incident to police.
The officer arrived at the park and observed an individual believed to be the burglary suspect inside a park bathroom. Officer Haas was driving a marked patrol car and wearing a police uniform when he confronted Romano.
Romano pulled a handgun from his waistband and pointed it at Officer Haas. Officer Haas pulled his duty pistol and attempted to fire as Romano ran to the east. Romano stopped a second time pointing his handgun at Officer Haas. Officer Haas fired his duty pistol striking Romano in the face.
The investigation into the use of deadly force by Officer Haas during this incident is anticipated to be presented to the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office for review on August 28, 2015.
According to Sgt. Dean Carriger, Sandy Police Department, there is no video footage from a body-cam or dash-cam of the shooting as the Murray Police Officer involved in the shooting was off-duty and on his way to work at the time of the shooting. The officer had not yet picked up his body-cam from the police department to begin his shift. No other officers or vehicles were in a position to capture the shooting.
Sandy Police Department, the outside agency which has been called in to investigate the officer involved shooting, as required by a new state law, issued a statement and photo of the gun, saying the suspect’s weapon was really a pellet gun:
“During the initial phase of the investigation, the perceived handgun was determined to be a pellet gun. A pellet gun that was all black and consistent with the appearance of a real handgun; it could be difficult to identify as a pellet gun without actually handling it.”
Investigators have revealed the pellet gun the suspect pulled on the officer was actually stolen from the apartment which had been burglarized earlier in the day.
We’ll have more on this story as the information becomes available.