LOCAL NEWS

Salt Lake Police release body cam video from shooting of carjacking suspect

Apr 7, 2022, 3:28 PM | Updated: Jun 20, 2022, 12:48 pm

SALT LAKE CITY – Police released the body cam video from two officers who shot and killed a suspected carjacker last month.

Officers fatally shot Matthew Cieslak, 38, of Idaho on March 26 near 600 South and Interstate 15.

He had just used a gun when he stole a driver’s car on the northbound Interstate 15 off-ramp that leads to 600 South in downtown.

Friends say they’re fortunate to be OK after armed carjacking in Salt Lake City

Cieslak fled the scene in the car and then crashed.

More than a dozen people driving on I-15 northbound and the 600 South offramp frantically called 911 as they watched in horror, recounting what unfolded with some screaming in fear as dispatchers tried to get information.

“He’s pointing a gun at the guy in front of us!” a woman yelled, during one call.

“He’s shoot—he’s going to shoot… Get down, get down everybody! Get down! Get Down! There’s a gun… On the freeway! On the 600 South offramp!” the woman screamed in terror. She began to sob as a dispatcher tried to calm her. She described being in a van with her family and saw the man shoot at the car next to her.

Other callers said they backed up and started driving in the wrong direction to get away.

“There was a tall man, he had a beard, and he was trying to flag down cars, and he reached in his jacket, and he pulled out a gun and pointed,” described another caller. That person said the man pointed the gun at someone’s windshield.

Yet another person explained that the suspect made two men get out of the car after pointing the gun at the windshield.

One of the apparent carjacking victims called 911.

“I just got robbed at gunpoint on the exit of 600 South, a man took my car,” he said.

A news release from police Thursday said, “The involved officers, as they exited their vehicle, immediately began giving verbal commands for the subject to ‘show me your hands’ and ‘drop the gun.’”

 

The Police body camera picks up soon after, as two officers in one patrol car chase the suspect in the carjacked vehicle.

They puledl up on the suspect, later identified as Cieslak, and get out of the car.

“Show me your hands!” One officer is heard shouting. Immediately after, a shootout ensues between the two officers and Cieslak.

Multiple shots can be heard on the body cam videos.

The officers take cover behind their car, saying Cieslak got out of the passenger side of the vehicle and ran at them with a gun.

“Is he out? Is he out?” an officer asks, during a break in the gunfire. “No, he’s… (inaudible)” the other responds as gunshots ring out again at that moment.

The video showed both officers exit the unit and then get behind it for cover as they exchanged gunshots with Cieslak.

The release said, “The subject exited the stolen vehicle from the front passenger side. There is a brief pause in the volley of gunshots, which is when one of the officers sees the subject running from the front passenger door of the vehicle and past the trunk in the direction of the officers.”

“Is he out? Is he out?” an officer asks, during a break in the gunfire. “No, he’s… (inaudible)” the other responds as gunshots ring out again at that moment.

Salt Lake City Police indicated that Cieslak dropped to the ground.

The videos stopped at that point.

Cieslak died at the scene despite life-saving efforts from first responders.

Salt Lake Police Chief Mike Brown said in a statement Thursday, “This was a very dynamic, dangerous and traumatic situation for everyone, but I am proud of our officers for the way they protected each other and our community when faced with an unimaginable and deadly situation. Our officers performed with great courage, tactics and professionalism while under fire in a life-threatening situation. Their will to survive and dedication to protecting each other and our community under stress is extraordinary. I look forward to their return to work after the investigations are complete.”

Cieslak was described by those who knew him as a Utah National Guard veteran and war hero who received the prestigious Utah Cross award for saving someone’s life in Cambodia. A former commanding officer told KSL that Cieslak was getting treatment at the VA hospital.

Neither of the officers nor community members were hurt in the incident.

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Salt Lake Police release body cam video from shooting of carjacking suspect