Police fatally shoot Utah corrections officer in South Jordan — and a police dog is also killed

Officers had been pursuing 25-year-old Zachary Alvarenga for hours.

After a series of police pursuits, a man was shot by eight officers and died in South Jordan on Thursday evening after he fired at police and killed a police dog.

Police confronted 25-year-old Zachary Alvarenga near 11450 South and Redwood Road shortly after 7 p.m., but they had been pursuing him on and off for about eight hours. Alvarenga was a corrections officer at Utah State Prison since September 2021, according to the Department of Corrections, and was also a soldier in the Utah National Guard.

According to West Jordan police, at about 11 a.m. they received a report that a man had assaulted a woman — reportedly a former coworker — and was holding her at gunpoint. They located Alvarenga at the Jordan Landing shopping center, where the woman broke free and Alvarenga was chasing her.

“When officers attempted to stop the vehicle” Alvarenga was driving, “the suspect fled,” according to a statement from West Jordan Police. “Due to safety considerations to the public, officers discontinued the pursuit.”

Police located Alvarenga a short time later and again pursued him, but once again broke off for safety reasons.

Alvarenga contacted the woman’s relatives and threatened them with a handgun, police said. Officers were able to contact him by phone “while keeping him under surveillance,” but were unable to convince him to surrender.

A third pursuit ended when police spiked the tires of his car. Alvarenga shot at officers while he ran from the vehicle, according to a news release from West Jordan police, and killed a West Jordan police dog named Maya.

Eight officers — four from the West Jordan Police Department, two from the South Jordan Police Department and two from Unified Police — then fired at Alvarenga. The man was pronounced dead at the scene, and the officers involved were placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the shooting’s investigation.

We are devastated to hear that one of our Soldiers was involved in this tragic incident,” said Col. Paul Peters, commander of the 19th Special Forces Group. “Our condolences go out to Alvarenga’s family, to Maya’s handler, to the victims who were immediately impacted, and to all others who have been affected. We will be providing counseling and other necessary support services to our soldiers. These kinds of horrible events affect us all.”

The shooting is under investigation by West Valley police. Video footage from body-worn cameras will be released pending the conclusion of the investigation and release of findings by the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office.

The department will hold a funeral for Maya on February 28 at 11 a.m., at a location to be announced — along with a public procession in memory of the K-9′s last patrol. The dog was a 6½-year-old Belgian Malinois who joined West Jordan police with her handler in August 2018 and won multiple awards throughout her career.

(West Jordan Police) Maya, a 6 1/2 year old Belgian Malinois, was killed during a shooting in South Jordan on February 17, 2022.

“The loss of PSD Maya is not only a huge loss to our handler and the West Jordan Police family, but to our community,” Officer Samuel Winkler of the West Jordan police said in a release. “She was a social and loving dog who loved to work. Maya will be remembered as a hero who saved the lives of several officers on the evening of February 17, 2022.”