SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah — The Salt Lake County District Attorney has ruled three Unified Police Department officers who returned fire after a suspect shot and killed a police K9 in April were legally justified in their use of deadly force.
David Shane Anderson died several days after he was shot by officers on April 27.
Police were serving a warrant on Anderson at a home in Millcreek, and after no one responded to their shouts they used a K9 named Aldo to assist in the search of the home. While Aldo was in the basement with five police officers, the K9 located Anderson in a bedroom closet. Anderson then fired a handgun into Aldo, fatally wounding the animal.
The dog’s handler pulled Aldo back away from the closet, falling down himself in the process. Detective Kresdon Bennett, Sgt. Chad Reyes and Detective Clark all fired their weapons into the closet where Anderson was hiding, with each saying they feared for the safety of their fellow officers, particularly Aldo’s handler, after the initial shots were fired by Anderson.
According to the letter from the District Attorney’s Office, there were no video recordings of the incident as none of the officers involved had active body cameras. The DA states the officers were lawfully executing a search warrant when Anderson unlawfully fired at the K9, and that each officer reasonably believed deadly force was necessary to prevent death or serious bodily injury to themselves and others. Based on that, the DA found their actions to be legally justified under Utah law.
The search warrant stemmed in part from an incident earlier in April where Anderson backed into and then rammed a patrol vehicle at a Holiday Oil gas station before fleeing the area at a high rate of speed, almost striking four youth in a cross walk.