The Salt Lake County District Attorney has deemed a Unified Police Department officer was justified in shooting a man last month before he could stab his girlfriend.
Tina Martinez and her live-in boyfriend, 32-year-old Jose Luis Rodriguez-Castro, were arguing the morning of Dec. 20. He wanted to know why she was “doing this,” to him, though he never clarified what he meant, according to the DA report.
Not wanting to be late for an appointment at the Department of Workforce Services, Martinez drove to the Taylorsville offices with Rodriguez-Castro as he kept asking her questions.
When she parked her Chevy Suburban in the DWS parking lot, Rodriguez-Castro wouldn’t let her out. That’s when she saw he had a knife and called her family who, in turn, called 911.
Rodriguez-Castro held the seven-inch-long knife to his heart and threatened to kill himself. She tried to convince him to take the Suburban and leave, but he wouldn’t.
Scott Lloyd, a veteran UPD officer, arrived about 8:49 a.m. and approached the vehicle. Rodriguez-Castro rolled down his window a few inches and told Lloyd to leave.
“You need to leave, I’m going to die. So don’t worry, I’m going to die,” Rodriquez-Castro told the officer, according to the report. Lloyd called for back up.
The officer saw that Martinez was hysterical and Rodriguez-Castro was becoming more agitated. Lloyd asked the man to roll down his window more, but he refused to talk to the officer.
After a second police vehicle arrived with lights and sirens, Rodriguez-Castro jumped into the backseat and got behind Martinez, holding the knife near her head and neck.
Lloyd drew his gun and commanded Rodriguez-Castro to drop the knife. Instead, he tried to stab Martinez, who defended herself by grabbing the knife and his arm. When he moved the knife toward her throat, Lloyd fired at him several times until he fell back from Martinez’s seat.
With the suspect down, Lloyd helped the injured woman out of the Suburban.
Rodriguez-Castro died at the scene. Investigators later recovered seven bullets from his body, as well as two in the Suburban, and one in another truck in the parking lot.
The DA’s office decided Lloyd was justified in using deadly force against Rodriguez-Castro and that he very likely saved Martinez’s life.
Witnesses, other officers who responded to the scene and dash-cam video from Lloyd’s vehicle corroborated his and Martinez’s accounts of what happened. One civilian witness said he heard the Lloyd shout “drop it” at least six times.