Utah County Attorney will not file charges against officers who fired on suspect

The Provo police officers fired on Justin Keith Taylor after responding to a 911 call on February 23.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah County District Attorney David Leavitt speaks out against the bad faith repeal of bail reform, along with other top prosecutors and public defenders, during a news conference at Salt Lake County District Attorney's building on Monday, March 1, 2021.

Utah County Attorney David Leavitt declined to file criminal charges Friday against police officers who fired on a man that had shot an officer with the Provo Police Department in February.

Provo police officers responded to a 911 call at 900 East and 80 South near the Vista Ridge Apartments regarding a man that was behaving erratically on February 23, according to a news release. Officers received reports of Justin Keith Taylor, 41, possibly having a gun and found a shattered glass door to an apartment building that appeared to be shot out, the release states.

A probable cause statement about the shooting says the police spoke with Taylor from the door to his apartment, where he told police he worked for the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Police attempted to coax him out by telling him they were on the phone with the DEA and someone wanted to speak with him. When he reached out to take the phone, police tried to grab him, but he ran away. Police chased him, and he went into a bedroom where he grabbed an AR-15 rifle.

Taylor discharged the firearm at the officers. According to the probable cause statement, he allegedly told them they were going to die and said “this is your last will and testament.”

Taylor hit Officer John Oseguera “several times” causing “serious bodily injury,” according to the release. Oseguera then took cover in a bathroom while officers returned fire, striking Taylor “several times.” Taylor surrendered and was arrested.

After briefly barricading himself in an apartment, Taylor was pulled through an open window by officers, according to Provo Police Sgt. Nisha King.

Oseguera was transported to a local hospital after officers apprehended Taylor. Taylor was later transported to a separate hospital and booked into the Utah County Jail on suspicion of attempted aggravated murder and felony discharge of a firearm, court documents state.

King said Oseguera, who has been with the department about two years, suffered a shrapnel injury. Oseguera was taken to a hospital for emergency surgery to remove a bullet near his spine and repair a broken leg.

Leavitt elected not to file criminal charges against any of the officers who responded to the call after reviewing various police reports compiled throughout the investigation, according to the release.

“We want to be thorough in these investigations with a multi-tiered approach and cross-checks,” Leavitt said in a statement. “I believe it gives the public more confidence in the trust they place with law enforcement and our office to keep our communities safe.”

Both Oseguera and Taylor survived their injuries.

“Incidents can escalate, and we want officers to be able to come home to their families,” Leavitt added. “We look to learn from these situations so that we [can] improve training, skills and safety for all concerned.”

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