Police release body camera of Halloween’s fatal shooting of man wielding swords

Dec 18, 2023, 3:49 PM | Updated: 5:40 pm

COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS — The Cottonwood Heights Police Department has identified the suspect who allegedly approached police officers with two swords.

According to CHPD, Unified Police Department officers responded to a domestic disturbance call from a home in Midvale on the evening of Oct. 31 involving 38-year-old Mark Brunson.

Brunson was a resident of the home and had a “notable criminal history” with reported mental health issues and alleged substance abuse, according to the CHPD press release.

“When UPD’s officers arrived, Mr. Brunson quickly drove from the scene armed with two swords and attempted to evade the police,” the press release stated.

The chase ended about a mile away in a Cottonwood Heights cul-de-sac, where a UPD officer and multiple CHPD officers tried to defuse the situation.

According to police, Brunson exited his car and quickly approached officers while wielding two 27-inch-long swords.

“When the officers’ attempts to de-escalate the situation with verbal commands failed and after the CHPD officer’s deployment of her Taser, the UPD officer was compelled to act in defense of the officers and the community and shot Mr. Brunson,” the press release stated.

In the body camera footage provided to media, officers have Tasers and firearms pointed at Brunson as he approached them with the weapons. Body camera shows one officer yelling, “I got less lethal,” as Brunson approached them, waving the swords, before he was shot by a Taser and a firearm by officers.

Body camera also showed Brunson injured before officers fired at him.

38-year-old Mark Brunson walking towards police with two swords.

38-year-old Mark Brunson walking towards police with two swords. (The Cottonwood Heights Police Department)

Officers began first-aid on Brunson until the arrival of Unified Fire Authority paramedics. However, Brunson died from his injuries at the scene.

“I commend the officers for their gallant conduct and efforts in rendering aid following the incident,” said Cottonwood Heights Police Chief Robby Russo. “I believe that their swift and professional response to this threat underscored their bravery as they acted as a barrier between the armed individual and the citizens they are sworn to protect. Heartfelt sympathies are extended to Mr. Brunson’s loved ones during this trying time.”

Russo said the investigation has been concluded, and the findings had been forwarded to the Salt Lake District Attorney’s Office.

“In the interest of transparency, the body-worn camera footage from the CHPD officer has been made available to the public. I believe that this footage demonstrates the propriety of the officers’ actions in an extremely difficult situation,” Russo said.

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Police release body camera of Halloween’s fatal shooting of man wielding swords