DA: West Jordan Officer Justified In Using Deadly Force Against 17-Year-Old
Dec 18, 2020, 8:28 PM
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – An officer with the West Jordan Police Department was justified in using deadly force during an August shootout that left an officer injured and a 17-year-old boy dead, Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill announced Friday.
The incident happened on the evening of Aug. 2 after officers were called to the area of 2352 West and 7680 South on a report that a stolen truck was parked in the neighborhood.
Dashboard camera video also released on Friday shows officer Gage Hoogveldt and another officer only identified as officer Jackson arrive to find the black GMC pickup truck parked along the side of the road. Three people were inside the truck, according to the investigation.
One of the passengers gets out of the truck, but the driver, 17-year-old Cyrus Carpenter, does not respond to repeated commands to exit the truck.
“As officer Hoogveldt talked to a passenger in the truck, he heard a gunshot ring out,” the report stated. “Mr. Carpenter brought his right hand up with a handgun and fired a shot, hitting officer Jackson in the neck and exiting out his back.”
Gill said the stolen truck’s height saved Jackson’s life.
“He was very fortuitous,” Gill said during a press conference to release the findings of the investigation. “Given that same scenario at eyesight, that was a headshot wound that would have been fatal to that officer.”
Gill said Hoogveldt returned fire as a response to numerous deadly threats from Carpenter.
“He can hear the bullet whizzing by him and hitting a fence behind him,” Gill said.
INVESTIGATION: “His actions, though resulting in Mr. Carpenter’s death, likely saved many lives in addition to his own”
— Ladd Egan (@laddegan) December 18, 2020
“Because officer Hoogveldt’s justified use of deadly force constitutes a legal defense, we decline to file a criminal charge against officer Hoogveldt in the matter,” reads the findings of the investigation signed by Gill.
The report from Gill’s office said Carpenter was hit seven times and died from his wounds.
“Officers in every law enforcement agency in this county and state routinely risk their lives to protect the lives and safety of those they serve,” the report states. “Officer Hoogveldt did just that in this matter. His actions, though resulting in Mr. Carpenter’s death, likely saved many lives in addition to his own.”
Gill met with Carpenter’s family before releasing the results of the investigation to the public.
“Regardless of what the circumstances are, a loss of a human life in our community is a loss to some family,” Gill said. “He’s somebody’s son. He’s somebody’s grandson. He’s somebody’s sibling.”
Gill said the family has a message they wanted him to pass along.
“They wanted to make sure that I conveyed when I was here to the community how deeply and sincerely they were sorry for their son’s action,” Gill said. “And how deeply and sorry they were that the officer got injured.”
The report indicated Jackson was treated and released from the hospital.
During the press conference and in the report, Gill commended both officers for providing interviews before watching video of the incident, as the district attorney’s office encourages officers to do.
By conducting the interview first, it “removes the potential for someone to suggest that an officer’s testimony is influenced by or a product of a video recording of events rather than an officer’s memory,” the report said.