Salt Lake police release body cam video from officer shooting of a man who set his yard on fire

Aug 10, 2022, 5:46 PM | Updated: Aug 11, 2022, 11:23 am
Salt Lake Police released body cam video of an officer-involved shooting in July. (Salt Lake City P...
Salt Lake Police released body cam video of an officer-involved shooting in July. (Salt Lake City Police Department)
(Salt Lake City Police Department)

SALT LAKE CITY — New video from the Salt Lake City Police Department showed the events leading up to the shooting of a man who had set his yard on fire.

Peter Larson was shot on July 9 near 1400 S., Utahna Drive, when two of six responding officers fired on him as he carried a shotgun after allegedly threatening to shoot firefighters.

Fire crews were the first to respond to an 8:03 p.m. call for a yard fire. A man, identified as Larson, threatened them after they arrived. Police officers then arrived and they were told Larson had guns.

“Officers could see smoke billowing from the yard. The officers kept a safe distance and began multiple attempts to communicate with the man,” a statement from SLCPD said.

The videos released Wednesday came from six responding officers, two of them fired shots at Larson. The video from the two officers who fired their guns showed them taking a position in the backyard at a home next door to Larson.

The video showed a burned fence and a puddle of water where the yard fire started.

“The first 9-1-1 call is from a neighbor named ‘Paul’ who reported to SLC 911 that his neighbor was starting his yard and fence on fire. The caller further reported he was spraying his fence down,” a transcript of the 911 calls states.

One officer was in front of the house using a loudspeaker to talk Larson out of the house but there was no response. At 8:52 p.m. one of the officers behind the house radioed that he saw a dog come out of the house. Larson followed with a shotgun.

Officers yelled several times for Larson to drop his gun. Seconds later the officers fired at least a dozen shots. Larson ducked back into the house.

In the meantime, officers said over the radio that the fire was growing. About 10 minutes later they said it had spread to the side of Larson’s home; this as officers were still trying to get Larson to surrender. They eventually entered the house to give Larson medical assistance.

The officers helped Larson out of the house and put him in an ambulance to be taken to a hospital. Police said his injuries were not life threatening.

SLCPD Police Chief Mike Brown released this statement:

“I am very proud of how our officers responded to this situation. Based on a preliminary review of the body-worn camera footage, our officers acted quickly to protect firefighters, neighbors and fellow officers. They used time and distance to their advantage, but they still found themselves in a situation that quickly intensified.”

An outside agency is investigating the incident.

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Salt Lake police release body cam video from officer shooting of a man who set his yard on fire