Provo police charge, jail, release name of man suspected of shooting officer

Keith Justin Taylor. Photo: Utah County

PROVO, Utah, Feb. 27, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — A Provo man accused of shooting a Provo Police officer twice Thursday during what has been described as a “gun battle” has been released from the hospital and booked into the Utah County Jail.

The suspect, revealed Saturday to be 45-year-old Keith Justin Taylor, has been charged on suspicion of:

  • Three counts of aggravated murder, a first degree felony
  • One count of felony discharge of a firearm, firing in the direction of a building, a third-degree felony.

The murder charges are likely to be downgraded, as serious injuries but no deaths resulted from the shooting. Officer John Oseguera was struck by two bullets in his lower extremities, Provo Police have said.

“Today, Officer Oseguera was alert and in good spirits,” said a Provo Police statement released Friday, a day after the incident. “His recovery will take time.”

Provo Police officer John Oseguera. Photo: Provo Police Dept.

The probable cause statement filed in Taylor’s case says that at 12:51 p.m. Thursday, officers were dispatched to the Vista Ridge Apartments, at 80 S. 900 East, “after receiving several reports of a male ‘acting crazy,’ and it was believed a gunshot was heard.” One caller recognized the armed suspect as an apartment resident in the building, the statement says.

The building’s front door had been shattered, and glass was on the ground, the statement says. Outside the suspect’s apartment, police found the door open. Contact was made with the man later identified as Taylor.

“Officers began speaking with Mr. Taylor, who stated that he worked for the NSA as well as the DEA and that he was the one who had shot the glass door due to being harassed,” the affidavit says. “Mr. Taylor asked that Officers contact the DEA to verify that he in fact works for them.

As Officers continued to speak with Mr. Taylor, one officer in particular advised that he happened to be on the phone with the DEA who wished to speak with him in hopes of coaxing Mr. Taylor from the doorway of the apartment. Mr. Taylor refused to
move from the doorway and asked that this officer come to him therefore, this officer approached Mr. Taylor as if he were going to hand the phone to Mr. Taylor.”

Taylor saw the officer’s badge, and asked if he could take it, the probable cause statement says. Taylor reached out, and officers attempted to grab him, but the suspect escaped and fled down a hall, the statement says, and three officers gave chase.

“Mr. Taylor ran down a short hallway to a bedroom where he retrieved an AR-15 style rifle with a suppressor, turned towards officers who were pursuing, and at approximately 13:05 hours, began to fire multiple rounds at the officers at which point, officers began to return fire.

“At this time, one officer was struck by the Mr. Taylors’ gunfire but was able to take cover in an adjacent bathroom. Mr. Taylor and the police officers continued to exchange gunfire while giving commands to Mr. Taylor to drop the gun and to stop shooting. While Mr. Taylor is shooting at the officers he pauses and yells at the officers, ‘You’re gonna die, f‒‒‒ers,’  and ‘This is your last will and testament.'”

While this was going on, the injured officer, Oseguera, was taken from the scene and rushed to a local hospital.

“Eventually, the gunfire stopped and officers were able to take Mr. Taylor into custody, who was found to also be injured during the exchange of gunfire,” the statement says. “Mr. Taylor was subsequently transported to a local hospital via ambulance where medical treatment was provided to him.”

On Friday, detectives with the Utah County Officer Involved Critical Incident Team attempted to interview Taylor about the incident, however, he requested an attorney, and interview attempts ended.

Taylor is being held without bail at the Utah County Jail.

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