A Unified Police Department officer shot and killed a man in Magna who was allegedly holding a woman hostage in his truck early Tuesday morning.
The man who was shot was identified as 41-year-old Lonnie Marcel Bowen of Salt Lake City.
The shooting occurred about 4:15 a.m., near the intersection of 2700 South and 8400 West, according to a tweet from the Unified Police Department (UPD).
Events leading to the shooting began a little after 3 a.m., said Unified police Lt. Brian Lohrke. At that time, an agitated man called dispatchers and said he was holding a woman hostage in a vehicle.
“Tell your officers to back off, or I will shove this knife through her throat,” the man told a 911 dispatcher, according to a UPD news release.
The man also requested to speak to a hostage negotiator, and the call was transferred the UPD dispatch center.
Not knowing who made the call, or whether the threat was legitimate, and having no officers in the vicinity, UPD Millcreek officers were dispatched to the area of 3700 South and 900 East — a location gleaned from a phone ping.
Officers did not notice anything out of the ordinary, other than a truck leaving the area. Police got the license plate of the truck before it left, the news release said.
At about 4 a.m. UPD received information that West Valley City police were in pursuit of the same truck.
The chase started at about 5600 West and 3100 South, continuing west through West Valley City and into Magna. During the pursuit through Magna, West Valley City officers deployed tire spikes to disable the truck and it eventually came to a stop about 2750 South and 8400 West.
A UPD officer who arrived to assist approached the vehicle and fired at the man inside the cab of the truck. Despite medical aid, the news release said, the man died at the scene.
The female who was inside the truck was not struck by gunfire. She was taken to nearby hospital and treated for injuries allegedly inflicted upon her by the male suspect.
Hours after the shooting, Salt Lake County Sheriff Rosie Rivera said it did not appear that officers from West Valley City fired shots.
Citing an ongoing investigation, Rivera declined to release details about how many shots were fired, the exact nature of the woman’s injuries, whether the deceased man had a weapon on him and who was driving the truck.
KUTV footage from the scene showed the truck’s driver side window with a large hole in its center.
An outside agency, Salt Lake City Police Department, was leading the investigation, as is protocol for Salt Lake Valley law enforcers’ fatal use of force.
Two days before his death, Bowen apparently posted videos to a Facebook page he appears to share with a woman, saying police want him dead. Lohrke said authorities believe the man in the video is Bowen.
In the videos, Bowen is driving, telling viewers that “The Salt Lake PD are killers, and they responsible for anything that happens to me death-wise. They want to kill me.”
(Warning: This video contains coarse language.)
Bowen, who is black, says in the footage that he doesn’t know why police want to kill him, and he alludes to an apparent affiliation with a gang, but he says he isn’t “hostile in any kind of manner” and isn’t armed. When he dies, he says in a video, “crooked” police will try to cover it up.
“I’m just putting this video out there, just so the world knows who’s responsible for my death,” Bowen says.
Lohrke said he forwarded the videos to Salt Lake City police. He said he didn’t know whether a woman photographed with Bowen on the Facebook account is the woman he was with when he was killed Tuesday .
Salt Lake City police had come in contact with Bowen about three times in the past month, with the most recent interaction occurring about a week ago, Sgt. Brandon Shearer said.
Police confronted Bowen during calls about trespassing, mental health and assault. None of the interactions ended with an arrest, and Shearer said he wouldn’t classify any of them as “negative.”
Shearer said he didn’t know why Bowen would post the videos.
Lohrke said Unified police had been in contact with Bowen in Magna about a month ago.
Bowen has a criminal history stretching back 20 years. It includes several drug-related convictions and an attempted-murder conviction — cases in which he went to prison at least four times, according to Utah court records.
Most of the cases occurred in Millard County.
Bowen was most recently released from the Utah State Prison on Jan. 9, after completing a one-to-15-year term for possession of a controlled substance in a drug-free zone, according to Utah Board of Pardons officials.
In the attempted-murder case, a then-20-year-old Bowen pleaded guilty to stabbing a 60-year-old man in his Delta apartment twice in the back and once in the neck with a steak knife in June 1996. The man recovered from his wounds, according to a news story from the time.
Bowen is the second black man killed by Utah police this month. West Valley City police shot Elijah James Smith in the garage of a home on April 8. They say he had broken into the house after robbing a store.