Utah police shooting stems from shoplifting, kidnapping at American Fork Walmart, officials say

The man that a deputy opened fire on remained at large Wednesday.

What began as a report of shoplifting turned into a child kidnapping, a police shooting and an Amber Alert on Tuesday night in American Fork.

According to police, officers were called to the Walmart at 949 Grassland Drive shortly before 9 p.m., when store employees reported that a 29-year-old man was shoplifting. The man ran from arriving officers and got into a car, police said.

Officers ordered him to get out of the vehicle and he did not comply, police said, but a female passenger did get out. As the man began to drive away, the car struck the woman, according to police. She suffered minor injuries.

The man then drove toward police, and a Utah County Sheriff’s deputy fired several times at the car — unaware that the woman’s 5-year-old son was in the vehicle with the man.

The man continued to drive, evading police. An Amber Alert was issued for the boy, but it was canceled at about 3 a.m. when the child was found safe at the home of a relative. Police did not say how he got there, or if the boy has any relationship to the man who fled.

According to American Fork police, officers made multiple attempts to stop the man, but they were unsuccessful. As of Wednesday afternoon, he had not been taken into custody.

It remains unclear if the man was wounded when the sheriff’s deputy fired at his car. No officers were injured.

The man is described as 5-feet-11, about 190 pounds with black hair, brown eyes and sleeve tattoos on both arms and a tattoo on his neck. He was reportedly wearing a black T-shirt, black pants and dark tennis shoes.

He was driving a red 2012 Acura TSX Special Edition with Utah license plate No. 2S2NP. The car has major damage to the front end — it is missing its bumper and grill — and the driver’s side window is also damaged.

The shooting Tuesday marked the 12th police shooting in Utah in 2022, according to a database maintained by The Salt Lake Tribune.

Before it, the most recent police shooting unfolded Sunday afternoon in West Valley City near Salt Lake’s Indoor Swapmeet. Police said the man shot by police was a suspect in an earlier shooting that day, in which the victim suffered a graze wound.

When police believed they had found the suspected shooter near the swap meet, they confronted him, and one West Valley City officer ultimately opened fire, police said. The man was seriously wounded, and no officers were hurt. The police shooting remains under investigation.