DA Sim Gill clears Salt Lake City officers in July fatal shooting near Smith’s Marketplace

Salt Lake City officials screened video from a July 25 fatal officer-involved critical incident on Aug. 7, 2020. Image: screenshot

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Dec. 4, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill has cleared two officers — Seyedsherwin Mansourbeigi and Dorothy Rose Wilde — in the fatal shooting of a man who was holding a knife to the throat of another man in July 2020.

It happened July 25 outside Smith’s Marketplace near 455 S. 500 East in Salt Lake City.

The man killed was 34-year-old Andrew Jacob Preece.

Gill said officers involved came upon the scene after a 911 call by the Smith’s Marketplace loss-prevention officer. The men — Preece who had the knife, and Emmanuel Valentino Montez, who was visibly intoxicated — had been inside the store, reportedly shoplifting, and were asked to leave.

The caller told officers the men began to argue outside, and Preece was holding Montez by the scruff of the neck. When officers arrived, they observed Preece holding onto Montez as they walked.

The first officer on scene, Mansourbeigi, ordered Preece to stop, then pulled out a Taser, the video shows and Gill confirmed. Preece responded by pulling Montez in front of him as a human shield. The second officer, Wilde, arrived, pulled out her gun, and also ordered Preece to stop what he was doing.

Andrew Preece. Photo: Salt Lake County

Both officers later declined to be interviewed in the case, or to provide a written statement, Gill said, adding that is their right.

Gill said the team reviewing the body camera footage noted it was not until Preece lifted the bowie-type knife to Montez’s throat that Wilde fired her gun, twice. Mansourbeigi then fired at Preece, and as he dropped to the sidewalk, his hostage ran a few feet away.

Gill said it was determined that Wilde fired five shots and Mansourbeigi fired six. Preece was hit five times, and bullets and fragments were recovered, Gill said.

Gill noted that it was not until the actions of Preece escalated and clearly threatened the life of his hostage that shots were fired. He found that the use of deadly force by the officers was justified.

The District Attorney also said attempts to interview Montez were unsuccessful due to his intoxication level. Several witnesses also were interviewed, Gill said, and three gave accounts that did not match the action captured on body cameras.

The video below, shown at an August news conference, is disturbing. Viewer discretion is advised.


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