DUCHESNE COUNTY, Utah — A shooting by an officer last month on tribal lands in Duchesne County resulted in serious injuries to two people.
On July 17, a Ute Tribe Fish and Wildlife officer shot a man and a woman who were on a UTV. It’s unclear why the shots were fired or what exchange led up to that incident.
On Tuesday, FOX 13 News obtained body-worn camera video from a Duchesne County Sheriff’s deputy who responded to the incident, as well as a report filed by that responding deputy that indicates both victims were shot in the back.
“Where’s the weapons at?” the deputy asked when arriving at the scene to ensure the area was secure.
“There is no weapons; she shot us,” one of the victims replied.
The incident report states that no weapons were recovered at the scene, even after a search by a K-9 officer.
The video also reveals that the two were riding away from the Ute Tribe officer on their UTV and then rode back to the area after realizing they had been shot.
It’s still unclear what events transpired beforehand.
“Officer-involved critical incidents are always difficult to investigate," said Greg Skordas, a defense attorney and former prosecutor. "We like to think our officers are doing their job and have to act quickly on the spur of the moment, and sometimes they draw their weapon and sometimes they fire their weapon, and sometimes people are injured as a result of that."
Skordas says the investigation will be treated similarly to a homicide investigation given the shots being fired by a law enforcement officer.
“Just looking at the limited reports that we have so far and seeing the nature of the injuries that two individuals, which appear to have been shot in the back, there does not seem to be any other weapons involved,” said Skordas. “You’d expect that there will be an investigation against this officer to determine whether or not her conduct was justified under the circumstances.”
The FBI is continuing to investigate and provided no new public insight on Tuesday.
According to attorneys for the two victims who were shot, they are both "home now dealing with the aftermath of their serious injuries.”
The status of the Ute Tribe Fish and Wildlife officer is unclear.