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Salt Lake County DA rules 3 separate police shootings from 2021 as justified

Posted at 6:35 PM, May 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-20 23:45:32-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill released his findings Friday on three separate officer-involved shooting incidents from last year. All three were found to be justified.

The suspects all now face felony charges in these non-lethal incidents dating from August to October of 2021.

“Under our state statute as is currently written, there are circumstances which you can use legal force,” Gill told reporters Friday in a press conference as he released his office’s findings. “We would not be able to subsequently prosecute them and meet our burden of proof.”

He walked through the evidence and findings in each of the three cases.

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The first took place Aug. 7, when West Valley City Police were called to a reported suicide threat.

“Two initial officers responded to the neighborhood and were waiting for additional officers when they heard a gunshot and called 'shots fired' over the police radio," Gill said.

He said the suspect, Shilo McCleery, was in the garage when officers instructed him to drop his weapon, but he did not comply. Gill said that’s when Officer Nathan Dugan fired a single shot, but did not hit McCleery, and officers took the suspect into custody.

On Sep. 8, the Sandy SWAT team was serving a nighttime "no-knock" warrant for illegal narcotics at the apartment residence of suspect Sean De Jesus Darragh.

“Mr. Darragh drew a handgun on a holster from his hip and began running towards the entering officers," Gill said.

Sgt. Greg Moffit and Darragh exchanged gunfire and Moffit fell to the ground, and then Sgt. Curtis Robertson fired shots at Darragh.

Darragh was hit and taken to the hospital. He is now facing federal charges.

“We are committed to our transparency that we’ve done," Gill said. "All of that will be presented at the conclusion of those cases when we do get there.”

On Halloween night, officers were called to a domestic violence report in West Jordan. They found suspect Pedro Cortez-Villaloa in front of the home attempting to get into his truck, and officers said he reached inside and tried to grab a gun. A nearby officer, according to Gill, pulled the barrel toward the ground and Sgt. Nick Dailami told him to move, firing a single shot that went through the suspect’s cheeks. He was treated for his injuries, and now faces charges for illegal possession of a firearm.

“We will be happy to provide for analysis after the adjudication of these matters,” Gill said, adding that their obligation was to provide the community with their findings now, providing further evidence at a later date.

The District Attorney’s office did not release body camera footage, video or witness accounts at this time, but said that will come later. They said that at this point, they have enough evidence to conclude that these uses of force were justified.