ICE agent, Herriman officer justified in May 2021 shootout with fugitives, D.A. finds

No one was injured in the law enforcement shooting.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill during a news conference in Salt Lake City on Friday, Aug. 26, 2022.

Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill announced in a letter Friday that two members of a U.S. Marshals Service team were justified in firing their weapons during a May 2021 shootout with two fugitives in Salt Lake City.

The shootout did not result in any injuries, but both fugitives — identified as Valerie Humphrey and Epifanio Anthony Welch — have since pleaded guilty to charges related to the encounter.

The two agents named in the letter were part of the U.S. Marshal’s Violent Fugitive Apprehension strike team. On the evening of May 20, 2021, the team was attempting to take the two armed fugitives into custody from a Salt Lake City basement.

Humphrey and Welch did not comply, according to the letter, so the team fired a bean bag round and a non-lethal pepper ball inside the bedroom of the residence.

Shots were then fired towards officers from inside the window, officials said, so two members of the team — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agent Nathan Young and Herriman police detective Marcus Beckstead — returned fire.

The two fugitives eventually surrendered without further incident or any injuries, according to the letter.

In alignment with the Officer-Involved Critical incident Protocol, the West Valley City Police Department investigated the shooting. Officials interviewed witnesses and reviewed body camera footage, but Young and Beckstead “refused to be interviewed or provide a statement regarding the incident and their apparent decisions to use deadly force,” according to the letter.

Gill’s office concluded in the letter that Young and Beckstead reasonably believed deadly force was necessary to prevent death or injury to themselves and others, and declined to file charges against the officers.