FARMINGTON, Utah — An officer who used deadly force on a suspect who held five people at gunpoint will not face criminal charges.
Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings declined to prosecute the Salt Lake City Police Department SWAT officer who shot and killed Joseph Manhard on September 10.
Manhard broke into a house in Farmington as he tried to get away from police. He held five people hostage for several hours as multiple police agencies responded to the tense scene.
For the first time since the incident, one person who was held hostage is sharing her family’s story.
“I still have this image still with me,” said Holly Jo Cushing. “He is sweating. He has a hoodie on. He has a gun in his hand and said, ‘I am on the run and I need a place to go.’”
That’s how Holly Jo remembered the moment she came face to face with the man who held the five people in the house against their will for nine hours.
“It was just like a nightmare,” she said. “Something you don’t think you will ever see in your life. These are things you see in movies.”
The standoff ended after negotiators coaxed the suspect to go to the door. That allowed a sniper to fire the shot. Holly Jo believes the officers who responded to this call are responsible for saving the lives of each of the hostages.
“You never ever want someone to lose their life – even a person who is doing something horrible,” she said. “But, that was the only and the most heroic thing for this sniper to do. That he was able to use so much skill to hit this person and save our lives as we were standing next to him. We are so grateful to him.”
Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown praised the work of the officer in a statement:
“Our officer made a difficult decision, relying on his training and experience, in a fraction of a second to save the lives of those being held hostage by a complete stranger. There is no other way to put it – his actions were heroic. He is a dedicated public servant, and I am proud he is among our ranks. I would like to thank Davis County District Attorney Rawlings and the investigating detectives for their comprehensive review on this case.”