CLEARFIELD, Utah, Aug. 3, 2016 (Gephardt Daily) — Investigators were at the scene Wednesday morning of a fatal officer-involved shooting in Clearfield.
According to a statement released by the Clearfield Police Department, the suspect — identified as 31-year-old Benjamin Heaton, of Layton — was killed Wednesday morning after an exchange of gunfire with officers in the backyard of a home.
Police say Clearfield officers first came in contact with the suspect when they spotted a car stolen from South Ogden, which was pulled over, at 11:36 p.m. Tuesday.
The man, who police said was armed, exited the car and led officers on a foot chase before climbing on the roof of a garage in the backyard of a nearby residence on Fern Drive.
Lt. Kelly Bennett, of the Clearfield Police Department, said there is no known relationship between the suspect and the residents of the house associated with the garage. That house and three others were safely evacuated, Bennett said.
The Davis County SWAT team was called in and had established a perimeter when the suspect opened fire on police.
Hours of attempted negotiation followed, Bennett said, but the suspect did not comply with instructions to come down and give himself up.
At one point, the suspect said he was going to shoot a police officer, Bennett said.
Sometime between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m., the suspect became more aggressive, shooting at law enforcement officials. Officers returned fire, killing the suspect.
No neighbors or officers were reported injured.
Neighbor Quinn Nilsson, 25, may have heard the final shots. He was sleeping with his screen door locked but his main door open. He woke up at 4:20 or 4:30 a.m., he said.
“I heard three or four gunshots and woke up, thinking what was that?,” Nilsson said. “I couldn’t see much except three or four cop cars. After the gunshots, I heard a girl screaming.”
Police identified a female passenger in the vehicle as Charlene Johnson, 21, of Ogden. Johnson was charged with offenses related to the stolen vehicle.
Bennett, at a 9 a.m. news conference, said the fatal shooting was an unwanted outcome for the Clearfield Police Department and other agencies involved.
“It’s difficult when we come in contact with a male under these circumstances, and he fails to comply with any order or communication with the police department, and it comes to the point where we determine his actions and the threat to public safety causes the police department to appropriately respond with deadly force in this case,” Bennett said.
“This will be a continuing investigation. We are just at the start of this investigation, and investigations can take several weeks.”
Bennett said the Davis County Attorney’s Office will be reviewing the case to determine whether the use of deadly force was justified.