D.A. issues ruling on deadly 2021 police shooting at Murray apartment complex

Before the shooting, a woman had called police saying her son was trying to kill her.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill discusses a police video depicting the fatal 2021 police shooting of Willie Salazar during a news conference in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2023.

The Salt Lake County district attorney’s office announced Thursday that two Murray police officers were justified in using deadly force when they shot and killed a 35-year-old man in 2021.

The two officers fatally shot Willie Salazar after his mother called police on June 22, 2021, saying he had a gun and was threatening to kill her, according to a Thursday letter from District Attorney Sim Gill addressed to Murray police Chief Craig Burnett and Salt Lake City police Chief Mike Brown.

Officers Brandon Hoyne and Jarom Allred responded to the woman’s 911 call and met her in a grassy area behind an apartment building on Vine Street in Murray.

While police spoke with the woman, Salazar appeared in a doorway at the back of the apartments, as seen on the officers’ body cameras. The officers told Salazar to come talk to them, but he refused and backed into the hallway. The body camera footage showed that as Salazar backed up, he kept his right arm and right hand behind his body.

As Hoyne walked toward the back door, Salazar produced a gun as he walked backward inside the hallway and fired at Hoyne, hitting him in the upper leg, the letter states. Hoyne then fired at Salazar and retreated to the lawn area, shouting that he was hit.

In the meantime, Allred moved up to the doorway, drawing his weapon and firing two shots at Salazar. As Salazar was lying facedown on the ground, Allred ordered him to show his hands, the footage shows.

After Salazar rolled onto his right side and raised his right arm, “showing an empty and open right hand,” the letter reads, Hoyne fired another three shots at him.

In all, Salazar fired once, Hoyne fired seven times, and Allred fired four times, Gill said Thursday. According to the medical examiner, Salazar was struck five times.

Police later said that Salazar had an “extensive history of domestic violence.”

Gill on Thursday declined to file criminal charges against the two officers. He said it took about 18 months to issue a ruling in the case because there was a “slew” of police shootings that needed to be analyzed, and this is where the shooting fell in the queue.

The district attorney’s office also brought in an expert to help analyze the sequence of events in the shooting, Gill noted, which took more time.