SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said in a letter Wednesday that the district attorney’s office will not press charges against an officer who shot and killed a suspect in April.
A Unified Police Officer shot Lonnie Marcel Bowen of Salt Lake City in the early morning hours of April 17.
Officers responded to a hostage situation in Millcreek at 3 a.m. after receiving a 911 call where an “agitated” man, later identified as Bowen, told dispatchers he would kill his hostage, according to a letter from the district attorney’s office. Bowen also requested to speak to a hostage negotiator.
Officers didn’t see anything unusual when they arrived to the scene near 3700 S. 900 E., but they did note the license plate of a truck leaving the area.
An hour later, Unified Police learned West Valley City officers were involved with a chase involving the same truck they saw leaving Millcreek. The driver of the truck, Bowen, led officers on a chase that ended in Magna.
West Valley officers disabled the truck using spike strips. West Valley and Unified Police officers approached the truck where, according to witness statements, Bowen was holding a woman by the neck, and also had a knife in his right hand. The woman later told officers she was Bowen’s ex-girlfriend.
A UPD officer fired five rounds from a rifle through the driver’s window, hitting Bowen in the head. Bowen died at the scene.
After reviewing statements from witnesses, the district attorney’s office determined that the officer’s use of deadly force — shooting Bowen with a rifle — was justified, because the officer likely was operating under the belief that shooting Bowen was necessary to prevent the death or serious bodily harm of Bowen’s ex-girlfriend.