Family of man shot, killed by police say 911 call raises questions

Posted at 10:32 PM, Nov 20, 2014
and last updated 2014-11-21 06:59:31-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- Often a 911 call can answer many important questions in a case, but the family of Dillon Taylor says it's been just the opposite.

The 20-year-old man was shot and killed by Salt Lake City Police outside the 7-Eleven on 2100 south and State St. on August 11. A 911 call reporting a man with a gun is what prompted police to arrive on scene.

The caller can be heard saying, "They are obviously looking for trouble just the way they look."

Gina Thayne, Dillon's aunt, reacted to that caller's report.

"I can't believe this is what took Dillon's life, this call," she said. "I wondered if she was intoxicated because it sounded like her voice was altered but the more I hear maybe she had a disability."

Thayne, alongside family attorney Robert Cummings, listened to the 911 call with FOX 13 News.

While on the phone with dispatch, the woman on the phone goes on to say, "We're almost at 21st South, the guy in the red hat has a gun. The guy flashed his gun, the kid flashed a gun as he was walking by. They are looking for trouble that's all I see."

The  Salt Lake County District Attorney's office ruled Officer Bron Cruz was justified in the shooting. Cruz said he believed Dillon was reaching for a gun. It was later determined Dillon did not have a gun.

"I don't want to say people shouldn't call when they see something suspicious, but be sure of what you are talking about, this took a kid's life, it took somebody we loved," Thayne said.

Thayne said she believes the caller sounded confused.

Dispatch questioned, "What race was he, was he Hispanic, white, black?"

The caller answered,"um black, no Mexican, right."

"First she said he was black and then she said no he's Mexican almost like maybe a little prejudice maybe, I don't know," Thayne said.

Dispatch then asked, "Where was the weapon, was it in his waist band, was it in his hand?"

During the caller's response she referred to another person.

"The one thing that stands out to me is somebody in the background says I saw something in his pocket," Cummings said. "There's a suggestion of difference of opinion as to what the object was."

Dispatch then asked, "Are you or anyone else in immediate danger?"

The caller responded: "No, not at all. I just thought I ought to report this, they look suspicious."

"This is an important part for us as a community to look into if somebody says we're not threatened and that isn't relayed to the officers we could have a repeat of the situation down the road," Cummings said.

The Taylor family is still deciding whether or not they will file a civil suit regarding Dillon Taylor's death.