Police identify suspect shot by officer in Kearns

Posted at 3:40 PM, Oct 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-07 16:27:52-04

KEARNS, Utah - Authorities are investigating an officer-involved shooting in Kearns after a wanted man was shot by a Unified Police Department officer Wednesday while fleeing from the scene of a traffic stop.

Officers said the shooting occurred near a home at 6154 S. Trowbridge Way, or 5800 West.

damian-huth-mugshotFriday police identified the suspect as 20-year-old Damian Huth, who has previous arrests for aggravated assault and drug-related offenses. Huth was wanted on a warrant issued for noncompliance with his parole for the assault arrest.

Police at the scene said things began when officers made a stop on a vehicle. Huth was inside along with his wife and a friend.

"The male suspect's wife exited the vehicle and assaulted one of our officers," said Sheriff Jim Winder. "While our officer was being assaulted, that gave the opportunity for the male suspect to exit the vehicle and flee on foot."

Huth hopped over fences and went through neighbor's yards. Officers pursued the fleeing man, and at some point during the chase a shot or shots were fired.

"The suspect went over a fence, the officer went over a fence, and there was a shot discharged," Winder said.

The suspect was struck in the arm and was taken to a hospital with serious injuries that are not believed to be life-threatening. Winder said the man did not have a weapon or a gun in his possession. They are still investigating why the officer opened fire.

"It's impossible to know... the only two people that know specifically what occurred in this incidence are our officer, who is at the hospital being treated, and of course he will be given his opportunity to make his statement to Salt Lake City--and also the suspect," Winder said. "The suspect is injured and cannot provide a statement either."

Winder said both the officer and suspect will be interviewed after they are treated, and he said the investigation is ongoing.

The officer involved in the shooting was treated at a hospital for a hand injury he is believed to have suffered while jumping over fences during the pursuit.

About a dozen houses along 5800 West have been incorporated into the crime scene. Melanie Golliet lives in one of them.

"It definitely got my heart racing and I was definitely concerned," Golliet said.

Golliet said she stood and watched as police spoke with the suspect before he was taken to the hospital. He is facing multiple charges.

"Had a conversation going back and forth, you could tell he was very upset and emotional about what had happened," Golliet said.

Dennis Kilgore said there are kids and families walking this neighborhood all the time, including his own.

"I got two 7-year-old twins, and they are always in the front yard, and when you hear something like that it's like, stray bullets where could they go?" said Kilgore.

Salt Lake City Police have taken over the investigation, as it is standard procedure for an outside agency to investigate officer-involved shootings.