SALT LAKE CITY — The Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office released a statement Wednesday saying an officer with the Salt Lake City Police Department was legally justified in using deadly force against a suspect who allegedly pointed a gun at another officer during a traffic stop.
Authorities said the altercation started when officers pulled over a truck driven by 29-year-old Salvador Flores near 1160 S. State St. at about 3:30 a.m. on March 3.
Police pulled over Flores after receiving a report that Flores and his passenger, Amal Hourieh, appeared to be “casing” a nearby 7-Eleven store, the statement said. After stopping Flores, officers asked both Flores and Hourieh to exit the vehicle.
According to the statement, officers observed what appeared to be a shotgun on the floor of the truck and a holster on Flores’ right hip.
“Officer Ruff saw Flores’ holster and put out his arm to sweep Mr. Flores’ side and hod Mr. Flores’ arm while Officer Ruff assessed Mr. Flores’ holster. As Officer Ruff held Mr. Flores’ right arm, Mr. Flores turned and pulled away from Officer Ruff and Mr. Flores drew another handgun from his waistband with his left hand,” the statement said.
At that point, Flores allegedly pointed the gun at Ruff.
“Officer Hansen said he heard Officer Ruff yell ‘gun!’ and saw Mr. Flores draw and point a weapon at Officer Ruff. Officer Hansen said he drew his duty weapon, pointed at Mr. Flores and fired three times,” the statement said.
Two of the bullets struck Flores in the torso. Flores was taken to a hospital in critical condition, but he survived the incident and was later booked into the Salt Lake County Metro Jail.
Police later determined the gun Flores allegedly pointed at Ruff was a pellet gun or airsoft-style pistol that had been painted black and “very closely resembled a a full-size frame, semi-automatic handgun,” the statement said, and the holstered firearm was a Colt 1911 model .45-caliber handgun.
Flores faces charges that include two counts of felony assault, one count of a weapons violation by a restricted person, one count of resisting arrest and other misdemeanor charges.