Salt Lake City police released body camera video of a man being shot to death by officers — after he pulled a gun and aimed it in their direction.
Riche Antonio Santiago, 29, died at the scene — 731 S. 300 East — at about 7:20 p.m. on Aug. 5 when police responded to a 911 call after the caller abruptly hung up.
Bike squad officers arrived at the Park Place Apartments and found a vehicle that had been involved in a previous report of shots fired. Police records showed the vehicle did not have proof of insurance.
Body camera videos from the first two officers on the scene show Santiago, a backseat passenger, attempt to get out of the car, saying he wanted to smoke a cigarette. One officer tells him to stay in the car. Santiago tells the officer he has just been released from jail, where he’s been held after fleeing from police.
“How come you ran?” the officer asked.
“Because I was stupid,” Santiago said. “Really stupid.”
“Yeah, that sounds like it was kind of stupid,” the officer said.
According to Capt. Lance VanDongen, at the time of the shooting Santiago — who had a previous been convicted of felony fleeing — was wanted on warrants for misdemeanor fleeing, felony fleeing and felony domestic violence assault.
The videos show one of the officers tell Santiago he’s under arrest and attempt to take him into custody. “Please don’t tell me I’m going back to jail,” Santiago said.
As one of the officers reached into the back seat of the car to take Santiago by the arm, Santiago reached into a backpack and pulled out a gun.
“Don’t! Don’t” yelled the officer. “Don’t be stupid. … What do you got?”
A young girl who was also in the back seat of the car can also be heard screaming, “Don't!”
Santiago can be seen pointing the gun in the direction of the officers, who fired at him multiple times as he got out of the car. Santiago falls to the ground and remains motionless. The first two videos and a third, from a police officer who arrived as backup, show a handgun on the ground next to him.
And the young girl who was also in the car can be heard crying hysterically.
The case is being investigated by the West Valley City Police Department. Two Salt Lake City officers remain on paid administrative leave during the investigation.
Santiago was the third person killed by a Salt Lake City police officer this year.
According to VanDongen, the SLCPD responded to 4,157 911 hangups in 2018; it has responded to 2,869 to date in 2019; and “approximately 8 percent” of those resulted in a need for police action.