Bystander mistaken for suspect shot by police after man opens fire on officer

Posted at 2:10 PM, Oct 31, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-01 00:12:32-04

MIDVALE, Utah -- The day after a man suffered serious wounds in an officer-involved shooting in Midvale that began when a wanted suspect opened fire on police, Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder announced in a press conference the victim of that shooting was an innocent bystander.

“It was subsequently learned through Salt Lake City's investigation that the individual impacted by our gun fire was uninvolved," Winder said.

Police initially stated that one suspect had been shot and a second suspect was apprehended after the officer-involved shooting in Midvale Friday night, which Winder stated began when a suspect under surveillance in connection with a stolen car fired on an officer. The incident occurred in the area of 150 West 7200 South.

Saturday afternoon, Winder stated they learned the person who was hit by gunfire was not involved in the incident that sparked the shooting.

Winder stated the innocent man was shot twice, once in the arm and once in the leg, after being mistaken for the wanted suspect by an officer with the Unified Police Department. The suspect and innocent victim look similar, which according to the Sheriff's Office is why the officer mistook him for the suspect.

The victim is reported to be in serious condition but improving. The 25-year-old man's name has not been released.

Unified PD stated in a press release: " UPD expresses their deepest sympathies to the family of the injured individual. We have stayed in direct contact with them and understand that his condition is improving."

The Unified Police Department officer involved in the shooting is Officer Cory Tsouras. Tsouras is a 3-year veteran of the department and is currently assigned to the Midvale precinct.

Jeremy BowdenThe man who fired on police has been identified as Jeremy Bowden, and he was apprehended a short time after the shooting.

Things began when Bowden was spotted leaving the Mouse Pad, an Internet cafe at 38 West 7200 South. He then fled to the area of the Rocket Express Car Wash.

Another UPD officer had pulled into the parking lot to head the fleeing suspect off, and, according to the press release from UPD, Bowden: "immediately fired multiple rounds at the UPD officer while he was still in his vehicle. Rounds impacted the UPD vehicle through the driver's headrest, windshield, laptop and side windows."

The officer was also struck in the chest, "hitting the bulletproof vest, which stopped the round and saved his life."

As this was happening, the victim tried to run into the car wash but was not able to get inside the building. The officer who had just been shot then mistook the victim for the suspect and fired at him, hitting him twice.

“I was just in my apartment, I have some friends staying with me right now, and I heard gun shots, my first thought is it was fireworks, but then I just figured there is no way," said Melissa McCaslin.

McCaslin was one of the first neighbors to rush to the scene.

“We saw them pull someone out on a stretcher, clearly they weren’t deceased but it was clear that they were injured," McCaslin said.

The press release states UPD officers immediately rendered, "live-saving medical aid to this individual, applying a tourniquet to his leg."

Bowden jumped over a fence and fled northbound to an apartment complex, and police set up a containment with help from multiple agencies. After the man fled through a neighborhood, jumping over fences and passing through yards, officers located the man at the Brighton Place Apartments.

The press release states, "Bowden aggressively fought officers, but was eventually taken into custody." Winder stated during the press conference Bowden was Tasered during the arrest.

The investigation into the shooting has been turned over to the Salt Lake City Police Department, as it is state law that any officer-involved shooting be investigated by an independent agency. The Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office is also involved in the investigation.

Bowden was booked on charges that include attempted aggravated murder as a first-degree felony and obstruction of justice. Booking records also indicate numerous warrants on various charges relating to drugs, stolen property and unlawful possession or transfer of a firearm.