Man fatally shot by West Valley City police is identified

(Courtesy Salt Lake County jail) Elijah James Smith

A man killed by police after forcing his way into a West Valley City house on Sunday has been identified as 20-year-old Elijah James Smith.

At 3:15 p.m. on Sunday, someone reported a theft at a cell phone store near 3400 South on Redwood Road, according to a news release from West Valley City. The suspected thief fled the scene.

During a search of the area, a police officer spotted someone who matched the thief’s description about a block away, near 1940 West on 3500 South. That man, Smith, ran and the officer chased.

Smith went into a garage, but ran out again after seeing the homeowners. He went into a different home in a cul-de-sac, where three kids — aged 9, 10 and 13 — were inside.

Police showed up at the house and one of the children told an officer that the man was inside. Officers went in and found Smith.

“At some point during this encounter ... a West Valley City Police Officer fired his gun, striking the suspect,” who died at the scene, according to the release.

The patrol officer who fired his weapon has been with West Valley City for just under two years, the release states.

All three officers in the house had body cameras turned on. That footage has been turned over to Unified Police Department for investigation.

Smith’s prior criminal record consists only of a few misdemeanor convictions, including intoxication, criminal trespass, false information to a peace officer and possession of alcohol by a minor, according to Utah court records.

The only current case is the one for possession of alcohol by a minor, in which a $500 arrest warrant was issued last month after Smith failed to pay a $400 fee to the Murray Justice Court, court records show.