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Man shot by West Valley City cop had knife, was walking in traffic

Published December 16, 2013 1:55 pm

Suspect remains critical • Shooting under review by WVCPD, Salt Lake County Attorney's Office.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

West Valley City • A knife-wielding man, shot after he allegedly threatened and approached a West Valley City police officer despite orders to stop, had been stabilized but remained in critical condition on Monday.

Police Chief Lee Russo said at a news conference that the officer was responding to a 911 call Sunday night reporting that a suspicious man was walking in traffic near 3500 South and 3200 West. The officer spotted the 24-year-old man about 7:30 p.m. Sunday; seeing he was armed with a "large, fixed-blade knife," the officer quickly called for backup.

Moments later, several shots were fired with at least two rounds striking the suspect, whose identity still has not been released. Russo said witnesses told investigators that the suspect had been "behaving erratically and causing a traffic problem," and when the officer encountered the man in the roadway the suspect "displayed a knife and moved toward the officer."

Even after he was down, witnesses said, the suspect "continued to be uncooperative and remained armed." A police dog then attacked, disarming the man and he was finally taken into custody and rushed to the hospital.

Russo said he believes the officer acted reasonably and justifiably, but that will be determined by investigations by both WVCPD and the Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office .

The uninjured officer involved was placed on paid, administrative leave pending the outcome.

The suspect was between 5 and 10 feet away from the officer at the time shots were fired, Russo said.

remims@sltrib.com

Twitter: @remims