An Enoch police corporal told investigators he had “mentally purchased” the idea that he would have to shoot Ivonne Casimiro when he first arrived at the Parowan truck stop where she was suspected of breaking into cars.
But Corporal Jeremy Dunn was not justified in shooting her as she held a screwdriver and argued with officers June 28, Iron County prosecutors ruled Monday.
Casimiro is not the first person Dunn has shot — and in video of the confrontation, he can be heard asking another officer: “Do you want me to take her out like last time?”
However, Iron County Attorney Scott Garrett wrote in a letter to Enoch Police, “It cannot be objectively stated that the officers or anyone else were in danger of death or serious bodily injury.”
When Dunn arrived at the TA Travel Center, where multiple people were reported to be breaking into cars, he had learned that another officer already had one of the suspects at gunpoint, Garrett wrote.
Parowan Police Sgt. Mike Berg said that a woman — Casimiro — had swiped at him twice with a screwdriver she was carrying. Berg wasn’t hit, and he backed away while lowering his gun and talking with Casimiro, who was “not making a lot of sense,” Garrett wrote.
In the video, Dunn walks toward Berg, who is no longer holding Casimiro at gunpoint but standing near the open door of a pickup truck and looking inside of it. Two suspects, one of them Casimiro, are standing a few yards away from Berg. Dunn pulls out his gun as he approaches.
Dunn orders the man with Casimiro to step away from her and Casimiro objects, turning to talk to the man. Dunn raises his gun toward Casimiro, who steps toward Dunn and tells him to “go ahead and blow.”
“You come [at] me with that knife,” Dunn tells Casimiro, possibly referring to the screwdriver, "I guarantee I’ll smoke you. I guarantee it.”
As Casimiro continues to talk angrily, Dunn says to Berg, “I can take her out like last time. Do you want me to take her out like last time?”
In 2012, Dunn shot and wounded George Osborn Lafayette Fletcher, who was reported to be fighting with his mother while he was holding a knife. Fletcher moved toward officers “in a threatening manner” and Dunn shot him in the leg, police wrote at the time. Berg also was at the scene of that shooting, which was ruled as justified.
Berg urged Dunn to fire a Taser at Casimiro, but the Taser failed.
“Did it work? Did it work? I don’t think so,” Casimiro says as the Taser clicks repeatedly.
“Didn’t work, did it?” Dunn says calmly. “OK, that’s all I got for Taser.”
Five seconds later, he sighs and steps forward.
Casimiro, holding the screwdriver, looks at him and says “What’s up?” when Dunn fires three shots at Casimiro’s legs.
Firing at a person’s extremities goes against police training, in which officers are instructed to aim at a person’s “center mass.”
“However, [Dunn] felt that he was skilled enough to make this shot, as he had done it before,” Garrett wrote.
Two of the shots struck Casimiro. Her injuries were not life threatening, investigators have said.
After the shooting, Corporal Dunn said “he had 'mentally purchased' the idea that he would have to shoot Casimiro when he first arrived on scene as he had been informed that she was armed and combative and had taken a swipe with a screwdriver at Sergeant Berg," Garrett wrote.
But at the moment of the shooting, Casimiro posed no threat, Garrett wrote.
“Casimiro was not fleeing, had not made any verbal threats towards officers and there was sufficient distance between Casimiro and any bystander to remove any imminent threat of harm,” Garrett wrote. “It appears that the situation was manageable at the time Corporal Dunn arrived and it would have seemed reasonable for officers to continue de-escalation tactics until the situation could be more fully contained. Corporal Dunn was only on scene for three minutes before firing shots.”
Although Garrett found the shooting to be unjustified, Dunn will not be charged because “the State would not be able to prove the requisite criminal intent,” Garrett wrote.
Dunn’s future with Enoch Police is unclear. Chief Jackson Ames said he was releasing a news statement on Garrett’s finding on Tuesday and would not comment on whether Dunn would remain employed.