South Jordan police fatally shot a man armed with a shotgun outside the Oquirrh Mountain LDS Temple in South Jordan on Christmas Day.
South Jordan police Lt. Dan Starks said around 12:30 p.m. officers responded to a 911 call at the temple, 11022 S. 4000 West, where police found a white, middle-aged man armed with a shotgun who had been in a confrontation with at least one person a short time earlier.
Police confronted the man and asked him to put down the gun and put his hands in the air.
Starks said the man failed to obey officers’ commands and instead turned around and ran away with the gun still in hand.
Other officers and people were in the area at the time, and police said they were concerned for everyone’s safety and not sure what the man might do. One officer fired a single shot, killing the man.
After the shooting, officers inspected the man’s vehicle and found guns, swords and ammunition, Starks said.
No other people were in the vehicle at the time of the shooting, and he appeared to be alone.
Police are collecting evidence and notifying the man’s next of kin before releasing his name.
Given the holiday, Stark said, "it is more difficult for everyone on multiple levels, just because of Christmas Day. This is a tough day [to deal with a tragic event] for family members and for everybody."
He said the temple grounds were closed and police were not letting people walk or drive through the area while they processed the crime scene.
Starks said it wasn’t clear why the man was there or whether he had any connection to that temple, which was closed for the holiday. He said one person who saw the armed man on the grounds was alarmed and said something to him, and at that point a confrontation began.
As part of routine procedure, the officer who fired the lethal shot has been put on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation. South Jordan police and the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office are investigating the shooting.
Police have made contact with LDS Church officials and temple security and are "working with them hand-in-hand," Starks said.
"We are aware that something happened, but it would be inappropriate at this time to comment," said LDS Church spokesman Scott Trotter, citing the ongoing investigation.
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