SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Sept. 19, 2018 (Gephardt Daily) — The Salt Lake City Police Department has released body cam footage and more information following a fatal officer-involved shooting in the Rio Grande area earlier this month.
Michael Zahn, 35, died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound after he fled from police on Sept. 5, but an officer on the scene also fired his weapon twice during a foot pursuit. Police later determined the officer’s shots did not hit Zahn or any other individual.
Capt. Ty Farillas, division commander for the Pioneer Patrol Division with Salt Lake City Police, said at a news conference Wednesday morning that the incident began with a trespassing call at 3:47 p.m. at the Homewood Suites, at 423 West 300 South.
Dispatch received a call asked for assistance with apparent trespassers in a room.
Farillas then played the dispatch call, in which the clerk said: “I’m calling to see about getting police out to our property, we’ve got some unruly guests.” He told the dispatcher there were two guests registered in room 528, but there were two additional guests inside the room.
When police arrived at 3:59 p.m., they spoke to the hotel manager, knocked on the door of the room, obtained entry and checked the IDs of the four people inside. Those four people then agreed to leave the premises.
Officers then discovered that one of the individuals, Zahn, had an active felony parole fugitive warrant for a weapons violation.
At 4:17 p.m., officers located Zahn across the street from the hotel, and when police approached him, and attempted to take him into custody, he fled southbound on foot.
Officers then initiated a foot pursuit south along 400 West and Zahn ran then down an alleyway at 330 South. He jumped over a fence and was inside a courtyard outside a building with employees inside.
An officer then observed Zahn holding a handgun, and at 4:19 p.m. there was a gunshot from the suspect.
A Salt Lake City Police officer fired two rounds at about the same time as Zahn fired his weapon. Farillas then showed the body cam footage from the officer (see above).
In the footage, the suspect is first seen fleeing. The officer can be heard yelling: “Police, stop now!” He subsequently shouts: “Stop right there, he’s got a gun.”
The offiver then fires his weapon, and adds: “Shots fired, he’s got a gun, he ran into the building. We need containment on this whole building. He shot through the glass.”
It turned out Zahn punched, then shot out the glass door of the building at 333 Rio Grande Street. Zahn then entered the building and officers set up containment around the building. Medical and SWAT arrived, and employees from the building evacuated and were interviewed as witnesses.
Officers entered the building at 4:38 p.m., and found Zahn deceased at 4:43 p.m. Farillas said Zahn appeared to have suffered a fatal self-inflicted gunshot wound. This finding was also confirmed by the Utah Office of the Medical Examiner.
Farillas said West Valley City Police and the District Attorney’s Office are investigating the incident, and that the investigation remains open and active. State law requires all officer-involved critical incidents to be investigated by an outside agency.
The Salt Lake City officer remains on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
Gephardt Daily will have more on this developing story as information is made available.