D.A. rules detective who shot armed man in West Valley City was legally justified

Posted at 4:20 PM, Jun 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-17 18:21:54-04

SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah — The Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office has ruled that an officer who shot a suspect while responding to a report of shots fired was legally justified in his actions.

Det. Jason Vincent shot and wounded Jose Ricardo Lopez on March 1 after officers responded to a call about a man with a gun.

According to the DA’s letter on the investigation, which was released Friday, Lopez was upset about a medical diagnosis a loved one had recently received. Lopez had taken to drinking and ended up fighting with that loved one. At one point he fired several shots into the air using a handgun, which is when police were called.

Lopez still had a gun in his hand when police arrived. Det. Vincent ordered Lopez to drop the weapon, but the man did not comply.

The DA’s letter states Lopez, “instead turned his body towards Det. Vincent and raised his elbow and arm holding the gun in Det. Vincent’s direction. Det. Vincent fired two shots at Mr. Lopez who went down.”

The DA states that Det. Vincent had lawfully ordered Lopez to drop the weapon, and he stated that when the main raised his elbow and arm the detective reasonably believed Lopez was about to use deadly force against him or other officers in the area. Because Det. Vincent fired his weapon to prevent serious bodily injury or death to himself and those around him, the DA found his use of deadly force was necessary and is “justified” under Utah State law.