Cottonwood Heights releases body camera video of police officer shooting and wounding juvenile

Cottonwood Heights police released body camera footage from several officers Monday in connection with a shooting that wounded a teenage boy earlier this month.

One of the videos is taken from the perspective of the officer who shot the teen after repeatedly yelling commands for him to “drop the gun” and “get on the ground.”

The teen was in a car that led police on a highway chase, where speeds on northbound Interstate 15 topped 100 mph at about 3:10 a.m. on Sept. 3, according to the footage.

After the car crashes, the teenage driver and a female passenger exit the vehicle and flee on foot under a freeway overpass at 1300 South in Salt Lake City, the officer reports in the video.

The officer exits his police car and yells commands at the teen. The teen gets onto the ground, but at one point reaches toward his pants, and the officer fires at least one shot at the teen, the video shows.

After the officer handcuffed the teen, the boy claimed he had only been reaching for a phone in his pocket.

The teen also tells officers tending to his wounds that he doesn’t have a gun, and says he “was just trying to call [his] parents.”

After the shooting, officers reportedly found a gun in the teen’s pants, said Cottonwood Heights police Sgt. Ryan Shosted. Video shows officers pull a knife from the teen’s pocket.

The department is “happy with the officers‘ decision making” and their “lifesaving attempts after the shooting to ensure the suspect survived,” Shosted said.

After receiving medical treatment at a hospital, the teen was taken into custody, Shosted said. A couple of the videos released by Cottonwood Heights police are from the body cameras of officers treating the teen’s wounds.

At one point in the video, the teen asks whether he’s going to jail for what had happened. Shosted said that charges had been filed against the teen in juvenile court, but referred The Tribune to the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office for details.

Shosted added that the female passenger was not charged.

District Attorney Sim Gill declined to give out details about the case against the juvenile, including what charges have been filed against him and his age.

Shosted said the officer originally tried to stop the vehicle because he suspected the driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, based on erratic driving. The officer who shot the teen mentions an alleged kidnapping in the video, but Shosted clarified that another police agency had reported a kidnapping, and the officers at the scene weren’t sure at the time whether the people in this incident had been involved.

The officer who fired at the teen was placed on administrative leave after the shooting, the department said. Shosted confirmed Tuesday that the officer was back to work.

Although the officer is back at work, Gill said he has not been cleared by the district attorney’s office.

The Officer Involved Critical Incident team performed an investigation, as did Cottonwood Heights Police Department, Shosted said, and all the evidence from those probes had been turned over to the district attorney’s office.

Gill said Tuesday afternoon he did not believe his office had received the evidence yet, “unless it‘s happened in the last 24 hours.” After reviewing the evidence, Gill’s office will screen for possible charges against the officer.

The department released the videos in the interest of transparency, Shosted said. The sound in the video cuts out at various points, which Shosted said may be due to privacy issues.