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Orem woman allegedly shot in face by police officer; Family wants answers

Posted at 7:55 PM, May 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-10 23:10:45-04

OREM, Utah – An Orem family is looking for answers after they say their daughter was shot in the face by a police officer during a hit and run accident, and then left out of the police report.

“She’s not biologically mine, but I’ve been her stepmom for a lot of years,” Laura Jones said as she talked about her stepdaughter, Julia Jones.

On Mother’s Day, Laura got to see her stepdaughter for the first time in days – laying in a hospital bed, asleep, with a breathing tube and a now wired-shut jaw.

“It was hard to see her, it was really hard, especially for her father to see her that way,” Laura said. “She’s going to be in the ICU for at least another week.”

According to the family, the 24-year-old has been at Utah Valley Hospital since Friday.

“She was shot — the shot actually entered right here and exited right here,” Laura said as she pointed to the back of her jaw and then the center of her chin.

On Friday, Julia was the passenger in a hit and run accident which led to an officer firing shots and a police chase.

“The nurse said that every time she wakes up, the question she asks is, ‘Why did they shoot me and not Sam?’” said Laura. “That’s really heartbreaking.”

Ultimately, the driver, Samantha Bencomo, whom the family said had a previous relationship with Julia, was arrested.

“Samantha is… she’s just been a loose cannon, the whole time, so we were actually happy when [Bencomo and Julia] split up,” Laura said.

According to a probable cause statement, Bencomo now faces charges for leaving the scene of an accident, failure to stop at the command of a police officer and attempted murder of a police officer.

The family said Julia, who was the passenger, was shot by an Orem Police Officer during the altercation. However, according to the charging documents, there is no mention of a passenger, of shots being fired, or of someone sustaining injuries.

“I understand it was a tense situation, I understand accidents happen, but why are they denying it that Julia was even there?” Laura said.

On Friday, FOX 13 interviewed a lieutenant with Orem Police Department following the incident. When asked if anyone was hurt, the officer responded, “We’re not releasing that at this time.”

Now, as Julia sits in the ICU, her family wants to know why.

“When the police came to the door on Friday night, they told me she was shot. They told me, ‘Julia has been shot in the face,’” Laura explained. “The fact that they’re not willing to say anything about it now, it makes me angry, it makes me… you know, what are they trying to hide?”

“It was a mistake, they shot her by mistake, accidents happen, but acknowledge it. We don’t understand why they’re hiding it,” Laura continued.

The family said the bullet caused Julia to lose five teeth and break her jaw in four places. Hospital staff told them Julia would remain in the ICU for another week, but it was unknown how long she would be in the hospital.

It is not yet known if Julia will face charges, given the fact that she was in the passenger seat during the altercation.

FOX 13 reached out to Orem Police for comment, dispatchers said they intended to release an update on Monday.