Friend of man shot by police in Magna speaks

Posted at 7:48 PM, Oct 25, 2014
and last updated 2014-10-26 23:51:18-04

MAGNA, Utah – Unified Police shot and killed a man in who they say threatened himself with a knife and ultimately threatened officers in Magna Saturday evening.

The deceased was identified as 39 year-old Luis Quintana of Magna.

The shooting occurred in the area of 8400 West and 3500 South. Unified Police say they first received reports of Quintana threatening suicide, but when police arrived at the provided location Quintana could not be found.

Officers suspended their search in order to respond to another incident nearby, but a few minutes later they received a call stating Quintana had returned to the home and was hurting himself.

When an officer returned to the scene, UPD says he observed Quintana cutting himself in the middle of the road.

“The officer got out, began issuing challenges to that subject," said Lt. Justin Hoyal of the Unified Police Department. "Those challenges actually came across our police radio, other officers heard that, other officers were responding to help. At this point in time, the subject came at our officer. He charged at him and ultimately forced our officer to have to fire and shoot."

Officials on scene said Quintana was shot four times in the chest and suffered fatal wounds. There were no other injuries.

Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder also stated the commands to stop were heard over police communications and that the officer fired when the man charged at him.

Marco Mendoza is a friend of Quintana's, and he said the man was recovering from foot surgery and was in a lot of pain and was also struggling with depression. Mendoza said the man began hurting himself while in his home.

“Hurting himself, he wasn’t in the right state of mind, but he had his shirt off," he said. "He was sliced already here. He cut himself numerous times; he’d been bleeding everywhere."

Mendoza is the one who called police, and he said he hoped they would be able to restrain his friend.

“And I told him, please Taser him, please Taser him," he said. "I yelled it plenty loud, plenty of times, and that’s when my friend turned around and came back running down the road this way, and that's when the officer unloaded on him."

He said he was there for his friend in his final moments.

“I went down and kneeled by my friend and held his hand for his last breath,” Mendoza said.

Mendoza and Quintana's wife said they wished officers would have used other means to restrain the man. He said he wants people to know, especially Quintana's wife and four sons, that the man wasn't a criminal and didn't hurt anyone but himself. He said the man was having troubles and needed professional help.

Officers said the entire altercation lasted about 20 seconds, and Hoyal spoke about the officer's response.

“Studies have shown that it takes an individual a second and a half to close a distance of 21 feet. It takes an officer about a second and a half to draw his weapon and react to a situation that might be threatening to him,” he said.

Personnel from UPD as well as the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office are investigating the case. The officer is on paid administrative leave, which is a standard procedure.