District Attorney: Officer who shot, killed trespassing suspect was justified

Posted at 8:22 PM, Dec 22, 2014
and last updated 2014-12-22 23:28:36-05

SALT LAKE CITY — A South Jordan police officer who shot and killed a man last month was justified in doing so, according to a statement released Monday by the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office.

Sgt. Larimie Lancaster, South Jordan Police Department, shot and killed Ty Elvin Worthington on November 22.

Details of the shooting incident were outlined in a routine Officer Involved Critical Incident (OICI) review and were included with the statement released Monday. Click here to read the review.

According to the OICI review, Worthington’s mother, Edith, had driven Ty to a light rail train station and told him not to come back.

When Ty returned home, Edith called South Jordan Police and told dispatchers that he was “high on drugs,” the review said.

Officers arrived at the home, they found Ty was not alert and he appeared to have taken Xanax and heroin. Ty was then transported to the Lone Peak medical facility, the review said.

Several hours later, Edith called police again and told them Ty had returned and took a .22-caliber pistol from the home.

Sgt. Lancaster responded to the home, where Ty’s brother showed him Ty’s bedroom. Lancaster saw prescription bottles, drug paraphernalia and .22-caliber ammunition in the bedroom, the review said.

According to a statement Lancaster made, he then left the Worthington home and spotted Ty on a neighboring property.

Lancaster tried to make contact with Ty, the statement said, but Ty ran to a horse corral where a trailer and two boats were parked.

As Lancaster continued his attempt to make contact with Ty, Ty went behind one of the boats and Lancaster could see Ty “fishing around” in a backpack.

“Sgt. Lancaster said that because he believed Ty was armed and may have been using drugs, Sgt. Lancaster drew his duty weapon and kept it at low ready,” the statement said. “Sgt. Lancaster said that as Ty came out from behind the boat, the first thing Sgt. Lancaster saw was a gun in Ty’s hand. Ty was moving towards Sgt. Lancaster.”

According to the OICI review, Lancaster said he saw Ty “move the gun up and towards Sgt. Lancaster’s direction.” Lancaster said he then fired several rounds at Ty and then stopped to assess Ty’s situation.

At that point, Lancaster then heard the “distinct sound of a .22 going off” and believed Ty had fired his weapon, the review said.

Lancaster stated that Ty moved behind one of the boats and he believed Ty was retreating. Lancaster then called dispatch, reported “shots fired” and asked for assistance.

According to the review, Lancaster then walked toward the boat and looked under it for Ty’s legs.

“Sgt. Lancaster said as he came around the boat, he could see Ty with the gun still in his hand. Sgt. Lancaster said he believed he needed to use deadly force to terminate the threat and he fired again at Ty. Sgt. Lancaster said he wasn’t going to let Ty fire his weapon at Sgt. Lancaster again,” the OICI review said.

At that point, Lancaster saw Ty fall to the ground with the .22-caliber revolver in his hand. Lancaster approached Ty and kicked the gun away from Ty’s hand.  Another South Jordan officer arrived at the scene and assisted Lancaster in handcuffing Ty, the review said. Ty died from his injuries.