The Davis County Attorney’s Office has declined to file charges against a Salt Lake City SWAT officer who fatally shot a man in September.
Joseph Manard, 31, was killed after police said he took five people hostage in a home on Sept. 10. Police had issued a warrant for Manard’s arrest two days earlier, describing him as armed and dangerous after he had assaulted an ex-girlfriend, according to officers.
In a letter that Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings sent Tuesday to Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown, which The Salt Lake Tribune obtained through a public records request, Rawlings identified the Salt Lake City SWAT officer who killed Manard as Jared Tadehara.
“We have determined that Officer Tadehara acted properly under Utah Code Ann. $76-2-404, in that he had a reasonable belief that his use of deadly force was necessary to prevent death or serious bodily injury to multiple hostages,” the letter states. “Consequently, we do not believe that a unanimous jury would convict Officer Tadehara, and we therefore decline to prosecute him.”
“Further, we commend Officer Tadehara for his judgment and skill in ending an incredibly dangerous situation without the loss of innocent lives,” the letter continues.
After releasing the letter to the Tribune, Rawlings said that he had inadvertently sent an unredacted copy and requested that the Tribune not identify the officer. The Tribune declined.
According to police, officers had tried to take Manard into custody in the early hours of Sept. 10, but he drove away with police in pursuit. Manard abandoned the car he was driving near 34th Street and Center Street in Clearfield. He then reportedly carjacked another vehicle, firing at least one shot into the car before the woman driving it exited and he drove away.
Manard reportedly rammed a police car as he tried to escape. After officers deployed spike strips that deflated the tires of that car, Manard abandoned it.
Police searched the area until the Davis County SWAT team found him later that morning after conducting a house-to-house search.
Once Manard took a family and another individual hostage, police said he held them there for “several hours” as the department’s tactical team tried to negotiate with him. At some point, gunfire erupted and Manard was injured. After he was flown to a hospital, he died.
According to Salt Lake City Police spokesperson Brent Weisberg, SLCPD’s tactical team was called in to assist Davis County SWAT in the lengthy hostage situation. “The officers have to be rotated out for their safety and health,” he said. “They’re wearing a considerable amount of gear, and they tire quickly.”
It is unclear whether Manard fired at officers and how many officers fired their weapons at him. Rawlings declined to answer when asked about these details. “[Manard] absolutely was an imminent threat to human life at the time he was fired upon,” Rawlings said. He said Manard was struck once.
Brown released the following statement in response to Rawlings’ letter:
“Our officer made a difficult decision, relying on his training and experience, in a fraction of a second to save the lives of those being held hostage by a complete stranger. There is no other way to put it — his actions were heroic. He is a dedicated public servant, and I am proud he is among our ranks.”
According to The Tribune’s database of Utah police shootings, Tadehara has not been involved in any prior police shootings.
The Sept. 10 shooting marked the 22nd police shooting in Utah this year.