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Video shows shooting of Utah teen who reached in waistband

A gun was recovered from the scene

By PoliceOne Staff

COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS, Utah — Police released body camera footage Monday of a Sept. 3 shooting.

An officer attempted to pull over a driver he believed was under the influence, Fox 13 Now reported. The driver fled, leading the officer on a high-speed pursuit. The officer can be heard on video telling the dispatcher that a female and male were fleeing on foot and he was going to have at least one suspect at gunpoint.

The sergeant exited his patrol car and told the suspect to drop his weapon multiple times and to get on the ground. The suspect complied, but shortly after, he reached in his waistband. The sergeant repeatedly told the suspect to not move. When he didn’t comply, the officer fired once, hitting the suspect in the abdomen.

“What were you reaching for?” the officer can be heard asking the suspect. The suspect claimed he was reaching for his phone to call his parents and he wasn’t carrying a gun.

Lt. Dan Bartlett said the sergeant saw a trail of bullets in the direction of the suspect, so he believed the suspect had a gun. According to the Deseret News, a gun was recovered from the scene, but they haven’t said if the suspect was holding a gun in his hand. 
The suspect was transported to the hospital where he underwent surgery. He has since been released. 

Bartlett said the police department released the videos “in the interest of transparency” to show what the officer faced and the aid he provided to the suspect after he was shot. 

“We thought it was a great video to share with the public to show how these things happen and the events that transpired, and it kind of gives the officer’s view of what’s going on,” he said. "We’re not out here trying to kill people despite what you see and hear all the time. That’s not what they were trying to do. The video clearly shows they were trying to save this young man's life and provide him care, even though they had just been through this event."

He said he believes the sergeant who fired the shot was justified because he “absolutely… thought his life was in danger.”

"I’m grateful that no one lost their life. I’m grateful that our officer showed compassion when dealing with this young man with their life-saving efforts," Bartlett said.

The suspect has been charged in juvenile court with fleeing and illegal possession of a firearm. An investigation is ongoing. 

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