The city police department of Roy, Utah released multiple body-worn camera footage angles of a fatal officer-involved shooting that occurred in front of a convenience store on February 21st, in which a cop wrestles, disarms, and then shoots a suspect with his own gun.
Police were called to the convenience store after the clerk felt he was about to be robbed. As the officers responded, they made contact with the suspect, 38-year-old Nicolas Sanchez, a convicted felon. Sanchez became instantly argumentative and noncompliant with the officers.
Sanchez lifted his shirt, exposing a handgun. The police closed with the suspect to disarm him, at which point Sanchez attempted to flee on foot. A wrestling match ensued over control of the suspect’s weapon. The engaged officer was able to disarm the suspect, but fearing he still may be armed and hostile, fired the suspect’s own weapon into Sanchez.
After creating distance between himself and the seemingly incapacitated suspect, the officer dropped the suspect’s gun and pulled his duty weapon, achieving a sight picture and illuminating him with his weapon light.
The police department is calling the shooting justified, which appears to be obvious based on the footage. The incident is still under investigation, and it is not clear if the Sanchez family will attempt to build a legal case.
The outcome of this officer-involved shooting is extremely unfortunate, and it was a direct result of the suspect’s completely unnecessary actions. Whether Sanchez was actually there to rob the store or not is irrelevant. Sanchez was a felon and was not able to legally carry, yet he was. That in itself is by no means a death sentence. Yet, when the officers make contact with him, he immediately becomes uncooperative. This instantly puts the officers at a higher level of threat mitigation. Sanchez then accidentally reveals that he is armed. At that point, the jig is up, and the officers are now looking at a confirmed threat that is continuing to be noncompliant. Finally, Sanchez turns to run as his left hand disappears into the front of his pants where the firearm is located. The officers had no other choice but to neutralize the very real threat.
Sanchez decided that he would rather risk death than be charged with felony possession of a handgun and face jail time. He made a stupid decision that unfortunately cost him his life.