WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah, Aug. 24, 2022 (Gephardt Daily) — The West Valley City Police Department has released body camera footage and a 6-minute video detailing a West Valley City officer’s involvement in the shooting of a suspect earlier this month.
Suspect Mitchel Van Halsey, 39, was pursued by police Aug. 7 after he alleged shot at a man, grazing his head, while trying to rob him for money for heroin, according to charging documents. Halsey is now in custody, arrested for aggravated robbery and aggravated assault after being released from the hospital. Halsey had fled the 1 p.m. shooting scene at 3500 S 1500 W on his bicycle.
Officers from Taylorsville and West Valley City caught up with him outside the nearby Indoor Swap Meet where a confrontation ensued and Van Halsey was shot reportedly by the West Valley City officer.
The West Valley City Police 6-minute video includes the one minute body cam video where Van Halsey is shot.
He is seen dropping to the ground in the first 2 to 5 seconds of the body camera footage, recorded through a window of a car on the body camera of the West Valley officer. There is no audio, which was switched on halfway through the minute of footage.
In a 6-minute video explaining the shooting, WVC Dept. Police Chief Brandon Christiansen narrates that Van Halsey “produced a weapon” and provides a freeze frame from the body camera footage showing Van Halsey holding a handgun at his side just before he is shot.
In the video Roxanne Vainuku, WVCPD public information officer, stresses that the video shows “what we know right now” as the incident is still under investigation by a police-shooting review, called Protocol Team One, lead by the Salt Lake City Police Department. She noted the body camera footage is just that of the West Valley officer, not what might be available from three Taylorsville officers who were on the scene.
Van Halsey’s shooting victim and another man were eating together, according to Van Halsey’s charging documents, when the victim mentioned he had cash.
“When Blue (Van Halsey’s nickname) found out he had money, he pulled out a gun, pointed it at J.H.’s head and pulled the trigger. The bullet grazed J.H.’s head causing a wound to J.H’s scalp. J.H. stated that after he realized he had been shot he got up and tried to get to the Carl’s Jr. (restaurant) while dropping cash on the ground and pleading with Blue not to shoot him again.”
Blue was picking up the money from the ground before he fled the scene on his bicycle, according to a probable cause statement, which noted he is known as a homeless heroin addict and was ordered held without bail.