A cop who thought he was about to be stabbed to death was justified in shooting his attacker.
Salt Lake City police officer Bryan Lutz shot Travis Keim on Nov. 29 in a Salt Lake City apartment. The Salt Lake County District Attorney announced Wednesday that the shooting was justified, revealing in a report that Lutz believed Keim was trying kill him with a knife.
The incident began when police received a call describing Keim as suicidal and armed with knives, according to a report from the DA’s office. The report also indicated Keim had turned on the natural gas stove in an attempt to blow up his apartment.
Lutz and other officers soon arrived at an apartment at 164 S. 900 West, where they saw Keim standing in an upstairs window. They asked him to come down, but he refused. After discussing the natural gas hazard, Lutz and another officer decided to bring Keim out of the apartment, the report states.
When the officers entered the apartment, they smelled natural gas, and, they later said, experienced a "cloud" of the substance. They also saw Keim, but when they ordered him to come out of the apartment, he ignored them and walked into a bedroom.
The officers followed Keim into the bedroom, the report states. Once inside, both officers saw what they believed to be a knife in Keim’s hand, held in a way that would conceal the blade behind his arm. Keim then pulled on a bedpost, which tugged on clothes and other debris on the floor, knocking Lutz down.
Keim then lunged at Lutz, who fired his gun in response. Lutz later told investigators he thought it was "the end."
Investigators later found a flashlight on the floor where Keim fell. They also found knives in the room. The report notes that the room was "extremely unkempt" and some of the knives were on and around the bed where Keim had been standing.
The report states that the use of deadly force was justified because Lutz believed it was necessary to save his life. The report also describes Keim as a public safety risk to the "officers, himself and others in the area."
Keim survived the incident and has been charged with attempted aggravated arson, a second-degree felony. He was scheduled to make his initial appearance in court Wednesday afternoon.
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