A Murray police officer involved in a gun battle with an armed robbery suspect, who was later shot and killed in a separate confrontation with officers in Salt Lake City, has been ruled justified in his own firearm use.
Salt Lake District Attorney Sim Gill’s review of the case of Officer Sean Malouf found that “the [potentially] deadly force employed by Officer Malouf was legally justified [under state law] to prevent death or serious bodily injury to the officer or another person.”
Malouf exchanged shots on Jan. 5 with one of two suspects in the holdup of Scaddy’s Restaurant near 5430 South and 900 East. No one was struck by bullets during the firefight, in which 16 rounds were shot from Malouf’s pistol alone.
At gunpoint, the suspect — believed to be 38-year-old Kelly Fay Simons, disguised in male clothing including a top hat and a “Groucho Marx” style fake nose, mustache and glasses — demanded and received cash from the restaurant’s owner. She then fled in a gray car driven by a second suspect, believed to be 40-year-old Sandra Chotia-Thompson.
While responding to a 911 call from the robbery, Malouf spotted the suspect walking in a parking lot about a mile away from the restaurant. The suspect ran when confronted toward a car, and then shot at the officer from over the top of the vehicle.
“Officer Malouf was chasing a subject that he believed was just involved in an armed robbery involving a firearm,” Gill wrote in his shooting review. “When the subject confronted him and pointed a firearm at him over the vehicle, Officer Malouf had the reasonable belief that the use of deadly force against the subject was necessary ...”
It was not known if any of the bullets struck the car. Both suspects fled the scene on foot, running into a nearby open garage where they took a resident’s car and sped away.
Simons and Chotia-Thompson were suspects in a string of Salt Lake Valley holdups late last year and early in January.
On Jan. 9, near Liberty Park, Simons was fatally shot when she allegedly attempted to run down a Joint Criminal Apprehension Team (JCAT) officer with her pickup truck.
Chotia-Thompson, 40, was arrested several hours later in a grocery store parking lot. She has been charged with one count of first-degree felony aggravated robbery. She has a scheduling hearing set for Friday in 3rd District Court. If convicted, she could face up to life in prison.