Salt Lake City officers cleared after fatally shooting man who held another at knifepoint

(Screenshot via Salt Lake City Police Department) Salt Lake City police shot and killed 34-year-old Andrew Preece on July 25, 2020, after responding to a call that two men had been fighting outside a Smith's at 455 S. 500 East.

The Salt Lake City police officers who shot and killed a 34-year-old man while he held a knife to another man’s neck won’t face charges, prosecutors announced Friday.

Two Salt Lake City officers, identified as Seyedsherwin Mansourbeigi and Dorothy Rose Wilde, shot Andrew Jacob Preece on July 25 when they found him and the other man outside a Smith’s Food and Drug at 455 S. 500 East.

District Attorney Sim Gill said that while the two officers declined to be interviewed for the investigation, his office concluded charges weren’t warranted based on video evidence and other witness statements.

Utah law says an officer is justified in using deadly force if they reasonably believe doing so will prevent someone else’s death or serious injury.

A Smith’s employee called 911 that day to report Preece and another man seemed intoxicated and had been walking through the store with a large knife. The caller said the pair stole an umbrella and were fighting in the parking lot.

Body camera footage released by SLCPD in August shows Mansourbeigi, who arrived first on scene, encountering Preece walking on a sidewalk with the other man.

Preece, who is holding a long, “Bowie”-style knife, can be seen following behind the other man with his hand on the man’s shoulder.

Video shows Mansourbeigi pulled out his Taser and ordered Preece multiple times to drop the knife, but moments later Preece grabbed his companion closer to him and held the knife to the man’s throat.

That’s when Wilde arrived. She also ordered Preece to drop the knife, telling him, “It’s not worth it.”

But, with Preece’s knife still at the man’s throat, she fired her gun shortly after when she had a clear line of fire.

Video shows that after the first shot, Preece didn’t let go of the man. Both officers then fired and Preece fell to the ground. In all, police fired 11 shots.

Gill said that investigators noted that before officers shot Preece, Mansourbeigi got out his Taser. Gill said the officer moved to his gun only after Preece grabbed the other man and held him at knifepoint.

“He was responding to the level of threat that was before him. He saw a knife and he went first on Taser, but as soon as that arm (with the knife) moves up and it goes to the throat, it is a new escalation, and now they’re responding appropriately to that (with lethal force),” Gill said.