Salt Lake County DA Gives Mixed Ruling In Fatal Police Shooting

Mar 12, 2021, 7:26 PM | Updated: 8:33 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Two officers with the West Valley City Police Department who fired their guns last summer while chasing after a suspect received different rulings Friday from Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill about whether their use of deadly force was justified.

The fatal shooting happened Aug. 27, 2020, near 1000 South and Main Street in Salt Lake City as officers with the U.S. Marshals’ Violent Fugitive Apprehension Team tried to arrest 38-year-old Damien Evans.

Evans, of West Valley City, had an arrest warrant issued against him for two parole violations, according to the district attorney’s report. When officers approached, Evans took off running while holding a gun in his hand, Gill said.

Piecing together what happened next was difficult, Gill said since the officers weren’t wearing body cameras and the two officers who fired their guns didn’t answer investigators’ questions.

Helicopter video helped District Attorney Sim Gill make his determination. (KSL TV)

“Policies of the United States Department of Justice, of which the Marshal Service is a part, forbid officers from wearing body-worn cameras during operations, even when law enforcement officers are employed by other agencies and working in the task force,” Gill wrote in his report.

As Evans ran through a parking lot, West Valley City Sgt. Jason Vincent fired his gun and missed Evans, according to Gill.

“We’re ruling Sgt. Vincent’s shooting to be unjustified,” Gill said during a press conference on Friday in which he released his findings.

Gill said he is leaving the matter of criminal charges open for Vincent until more information can be gathered.

“We don’t know why Sgt. Vincent apparently decided to shoot his gun during the incident, and there are not enough facts at present from which reasonable inferences can support a conclusion that Sgt. Vincent reasonably believed he needed to use deadly force,” the report said.

Gill came to a different conclusion about Officer Clinton Moore, who was found justified in firing the fatal shots in an alley as Evans climbed a fence. Gill said multiple officers told investigators that they saw Evans reach for his gun.

“We can reasonably infer that, when Officer Moore saw Mr. Evans pull the gun out of his picket, he believed he needed to use deadly force against Mr. Evans to prevent Mr. Evans from using the gun to shoot him or the other officers in the area,” the report said.

The report also notes that for a time after the shooting, Vincent’s handgun was not in his possession. On the way back to the sheriff’s office, he and another officer stopped at a Maverik gas station where he sat on a curb and the gun slipped out of the holster.

Once he got to the sheriff’s office Vincent noticed the gun was missing and returned to the gas station about an hour later where he found the gun in the same place he had been sitting. The firearm did not appear to be tampered with, the report stated.

In a statement, West Valley City said it was aware of the district attorney’s determination.

“We are currently reviewing the decision of the District Attorney’s Office,” the statement said. “We are also in the process of an internal review of this incident. We look forward to completing this process in the near future.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Local News

Matt Gephardt being shown the double payments that Terry Hutchings has been getting....

Matt Gephardt and Sloan Schrage, KSL TV

Get Gephardt helps homeowner being charged two bills for one security system

Billing for a previous home initially stopped when she sold it, but when she got a new security system from the same provider for her new place a year later it started billing for both

2 hours ago

The Utah State Hospital sign in Provo, Utah....

Daniel Woodruff

A developer has big plans for the Utah State Hospital property

The latest effort to move the Utah State Hospital for a new development plan has failed this legislative session.

2 hours ago

Utah County residents vote in-person during the 2020 General Election on Nov. 3, 2020. (KSL-TV)...

Daniel Woodruff

Utah Senate rejects effort to end ranked choice voting early

Utah’s experiment with ranked choice voting will continue after a bill that would have ended the pilot program two years early failed to pass.

3 hours ago

The Consumer Product Safety Commission announced February 29 that Heritage Store Hydrogen Peroxide ...

John Towfighi, CNN

Mouthwash recalled nationwide over poisoning risk

One brand of hydrogen peroxide mouthwash is being recalled nationwide for posing a potential poisoning risk for children.

5 hours ago

Comiske riding her stationary bike, something she does every morning....

Emma Benson

Strategies to lengthen your life

The CDC says, on average, women tend to live 5-7 years longer than men because men higher rate of cardiovascular disease, but there are simple, healthy ways to increase your life expectancy.

6 hours ago

A mother holding a newborn in a hospital bed...

Shelby Lofton

Utah family chooses Leap Day for their daughter’s birthday

A Utah family celebrated the birth of their new baby girl who was born on a day that only comes every four years.

6 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

Salt Lake County DA Gives Mixed Ruling In Fatal Police Shooting