WEST JORDAN, Utah, Oct. 25, 2018 (Gephardt Daily) — The Salt Lake County District Attorney has found the use of deadly force in May by two West Jordan officers was legally justified.
District Attorney Sim Gill released a statement on Thursday.
The Unified Police Department, as an outside agency, led the investigation in accordance with protocol in cases dealing with officer-involved shootings.
West Jordan police spokesman Sgt. J.C. Holt told Gephardt Daily at the time the incident began at about 2 p.m. on May 28 when an officer confronted a suspect, later identified as Michael Glad, 23, just minutes after he had robbed the 7-Eleven at 6200 Dixie Drive.
The West Jordan K-9 handler stopped the suspect, and the two men struggled in the middle of the road, Holt said.
During the struggle, Glad managed to gain control of the officer’s vehicle and sped west on 6200 South, striking two other vehicles along the way.
The suspect was then confronted by two other West Jordan officers who were responding to the armed robbery call.
Holt said Glad pointed a handgun at the officers, who responded by opening fire.
The suspect was struck and killed.
A police K-9 in the backseat of the vehicle was uninjured, as were the officers who fired on the suspect.
Police from West Jordan, West Valley City and Unified Police all responded to the scene.
A letter from the District Attorney to West Jordan interim police chief Richard Davis and Salt Lake County Sheriff Rosie Rivera said: “On May 28, Michael Glad robbed a convenience store at gunpoint. A WJPD police officer located Mr. Glad walking down the street shortly thereafter. WJPD Officer Hutchings stopped his police truck behind Mr. Glad and stepped out to talk to Mr. Glad. Mr. Glad pulled out a handgun and Officer Hutchings sought cover. Mr. Glad got into the police truck and sped away. As he fled, Mr. Glad drove the police truck towards several other cars, including police vehicles. WJPD Officers Whitehead and Shepherd fired their weapons at Mr. Glad, fatally wounding him. The police truck Mr. Glad was driving collided with several vehicles and came to a stop. Police and medical personnel attended to Mr. Glad who died from the gunshot wound.”
Shepherd and Whitehead, on the advice of their attorneys, did not answer questions or provide a statement or offer information about the Officer Involved Critical Incident to protocol investigators. Dash camera recordings from both officers captured much of the incident, the letter said.
Six other officers and two witnesses said they saw a black handgun in the suspect’s hand.
The letter also said: “Investigators inspected the rifles used by Officers Whitehead and Shepherd. Investigators determined that both weapons had been fired; however, investigators were not able to determine exactly how many rounds had been fired by Officer Whitehead because investigators could not determine conclusively how many rounds Officer Whitehead’s rifle contained before the OICI. Investigators noted that Officer Whitehead’s magazine was loaded with an unknown number of round prior to the OICI. Investigators noted that Officer Shepherd stated he loads his magazines with 28 rounds; investigators documented 26 rounds in the magazine in the rifle after the OICI, so it appears Officer Shepherd fired twice.”
The letter adds: “Notable in our review of the camera recordings is the amount of time Officer Hutchings spent trying to de-escalate the situation and talk to Mr. Glad, even while Mr. Glad’s handgun was out and ostensibly ready.”
The letter goes on to say: “Mr. Glad’s actions placed many people in immediate danger of death or serious bodily injury and we believe it would be reasonable for Officer Whitehead and Officer Shepherd to believe that Mr. Glad’s unlawful actions created such a risk. We also believe that it would be reasonable for Officer Whitehead and Officer Shepherd to believe that they needed to use deadly force against Mr. Glad to prevent death or serious bodily injury to those who lay in Mr. Glad’s path.
“The cumulative effect of these facts, combined with the unfolding of the events leading up to the shooting, creates a scenario in which Officer Whitehead or Officer Shepherd could have reasonably believed that deadly force was necessary to prevent the death or serious bodily injury of many other people at the OICI scene.”