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Salt Lake City police release bodycam footage of barricaded man who died in July

The footage shows officers ducking from gunshots, but it does not show whether the man was killed by police gunfire.

(Salt Lake City Police Department) This screenshot of body camera footage released Wednesday shows Salt Lake City police officers responding to a man who had barricaded himself. They exchanged gunfire, and the man died on July 20, 2021.

Three Salt Lake City police officers arrived at the man’s apartment after a call for a welfare check.

In body camera footage released Wednesday, video shows the officers first standing around the complex for 15 minutes as they discuss how to deal with the situation. Then, they knock on the man’s front and back door.

One officer sees the man look through the blinds.

“Oh, there he is,” the officer says.

The front door opens. The man — later identified at 42-year-old Nevada Escholt — appears to fire a single shot.

“Oh s---,” an officer yells. All three officers run for cover. One of them fires back from behind a tree, the video shows. Escholt was later found dead inside the apartment.

While the newly released footage from the July 20 standoff answers some questions about the shooting, police say they’re still not sure how Escholt died. His body was discovered inside the residence near 1660 West and 800 North hours after the volley of gunfire. But police don’t know if the death was self-inflicted or if it was caused by an officer’s bullet.

Police said Wednesday that officers went to Escholt’s house after they got a 911 call from a woman worried about Escholt. Officers say that she said Escholt had recently talked about dying by suicide.

The video shows when officers got to the apartment about noon, one attempted to call Escholt, but the call rang once and went to voicemail. Officers knocked on his door and tried to contact the neighbors. No one answered.

The bodycam footage shows the officers then stood on the corner of the yard and weighed their options. “This is exactly like that training we just had, right?” the footage shows one officer ask. “Yeah, about suicides,” the other officer responds.

One officer saw Escholt in a window and waved his hand at him. Moments later, they scrambled to cover when Escholt fired his first shot from the door.

Escholt appears to fire again from inside the apartment. The officer behind the tree remarked that he wasn’t sure what kind of gun Escholt apparently had, but said, “It’s not a BB gun.” And he fires back.

Then, after the exchange stops, so does the footage. In all, the video of the encounter lasts 30 minutes.

The released bodycam material does not show Escholt die, though parts of it are graphic and tense.

Police have said that only one of the officers fired, and that he only shot once.

A team of investigators is looking into the incident alongside the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office.

Escholt was charged with witness tampering and retaliation on the day of the shooting. A probable cause statement alleges that he sent threatening Facebook messages to someone involved in a pending aggravated assault case against him. But Salt Lake City police officials haven’t said if the officers who were at his house that day were aware of the charges against Escholt when they responded to the call.

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