District Attorney: Granite School District officer-involved shooting was justified

The Salt Lake County District Attorney has found a March shooting involving a Granite School District police officer was legally justified. Photo: Gephardt Daily/Patrick Benedict

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah, Sept. 13, 2018 (Gephardt Daily) — The Salt Lake County District Attorney has found a March shooting involving a Granite School District police officer was legally justified.

The shooting occurred on March 20 in the area of Hunter Ridge Park at 4400 S. 5700 West, West Valley City. The incident occurred near Hunter High School at 4200 S. 5600 West and Hillside Elementary at 4283 S. 6000 West.

Salt Lake City Police Department investigated the incident as required by protocol.

A letter from District Attorney Sim Gill Thursday said: “After conducting Officer Involved Critical Incident (OICI) reviews, the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office has determined that the March 20, 2018 use of deadly force by a Granite School District police officer was legally justified.”

The letter goes on to explain the incident: “Granite Police Officer Jonathan Sidhu was on duty and driving a marked police car and wearing a Granite Police uniform. Officer Sidhu was on patrol in the area of Hunter High School. He apparently approached a car parked on the street in front of Hunter Ridge Park.”

Granite School District spokesman Ben Horsley told Gephardt Daily at the time the officer noticed a vehicle with five male student-age occupants inside, that looked to be between the ages of 16 and 18.

The DA’s letter said a witness, who was inside the vehicle during the incident, told officials the officer spoke to them and said he could smell marijuana.

“The witness said he panicked and started to get out of the car,” the letter said. “He said the officer ordered all of them to stay in the car. The witness said the driver told him to get back in the car, and said ‘bro; I got shit we need to dip.’ The witness said he got back in the car and the officer moved to the front of the car and put his hand on the front of the car.”

The witness said the officer gave commands not to move the car or leave. The witness then said said the driver “hit the gas” and the officer “ended up” on the hood of the car. The witness said he heard a loud “pop” and saw the driver bleeding from his neck. The witness said the car continued for a short distance and stopped on the sidewalk, and he and three others ran from the scene. 

Another witness, who was watching from her window, reported that she saw a male (subsequently identified as Officer Sidhu) holding on to the rear passenger door of the vehicle. The witness said the car was moving and she heard the man yelling at the driver to stop. She said she saw the man get “hit by the car and fall on to the street and roll.”

he witness then said she saw the man stand up with a gun in his hand and shake his head; she said the man was “obviously hurt.” She then said she saw the car stop and a number of males “get out of the car and run away.”

The witness said she went to the injured man and saw he was a police officer. She said she and the police officer went to the vehicle and saw an injured man in the driver’s seat. The witness said she and the officer rendered first aid to the injured driver.

The driver of the vehicle was in Delta minus condition, with life-threatening injuries, and was transported to Intermountain Medical Center in Murray. He survived the shooting.

Investigators later found that the officer fired one shot from his Glock handgun. The shooting victim had a gun shot wound to his chest, the District Attorney’s letter said, and a “big laceration” to the bottom of his chin as well. “It appeared the bullet grazed his chin and entered his left upper chest,” the letter said. 

The police officer was transported to an area hospital with a head injury and a “lot of lacerations” from being struck by the vehicle. His injuries were not considered life-threatening.

Investigators examined the officer’s Taser, radio and other duty belt equipment, which “had scratches consistent with being dragged on the road.”

The officer was wearing a body-worn camera, but protocol investigators determined it was not turned on and did not record the events of the OICI.

A handgun and marijuana were located inside the suspect vehicle.

The letter concludes: “The District Attorney’s Office declines to file criminal charges and prosecute or otherwise pursue matters against Officer Sidhu.”


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