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American Fork police shoot man accused of stealing car back from impound lot

The man fired about 20 shots at a locked gate at the lot, police say.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Police cars near the American Fork Police Department, on Saturday, Sept. 9, 2023. A man accused of shooting out a lock at an impound lot and plowing through an exit gate to steal back his own car was shot by police in South Salt Lake on Wednesday.

A 36-year-old man accused of shooting out a lock at an impound lot and plowing through an exit gate to steal back his own car was shot by police in South Salt Lake on Wednesday.

Days before the shooting, the man was cited on Feb. 1 for driving without a license and registration, which led to his car being impounded. On Tuesday, he fired a gun about 20 times to break a lock on the impound lot, which was managed by a towing company, American Fork police said.

Once the man got to his car, he then rammed through an exit gate at the lot and managed to escape, police said. An advisory about the man, including a description of him and the car he drove off in, was then shared with area law enforcement agencies.

At about 8 p.m. on Wednesday, American Fork police along with authorities from the Utah County Major Crimes Unit found the man at a South Salt Lake apartment complex near 700 West and 3800 South. The man, Kevin Ballew, got out of the car he was in and ran away.

As officers chased after him, a Utah Department of Public Safety helicopter guided their movements overhead. When four officers ultimately confronted Ballew, they began to issue him commands, police said, though police did not specify what commands were given.

“At this point, Ballew presented a threat to officers,” police said, without providing further detail.

Three officers then opened fire on Ballew, wounding him. He was taken to a hospital, where he remained in critical condition Thursday afternoon.

It’s unclear if Ballew was armed at the time of the police shooting and, if so, whether he fired a weapon at officers. It’s also not clear what exactly prompted police to open fire.

Police did say a handgun was recovered from Ballew’s possession at the time of the shooting, but it’s unclear if the handgun was found on his person, found near him or found within the car he got out of to run away.

No officers were injured, police said. The shooting remains under investigation.

This marked the third police shooting in Utah this year, according to a database maintained by The Salt Lake Tribune.