UPDATE (4-23-2019) The case against a parole agent who was charged with aggravated assault after shooting his parolee while at a stoplight in Murray, was dismissed during a court hearing Tuesday morning.
Prosecutors requested the case to be dismissed because witness accounts of the events that occurred that day have changed and the man shot, Joseph Alvin Gomez, is now facing new federal charges of drug distribution.
In a statement sent to ABC4 News, O’gwin’s attorney said the charges were dismissed because the “state never showed the court it had probable cause to prosecute [his] client.”
MURRAY (News4Utah)-The Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office has charged an Adult Probation and Parole officer with aggravated assault. They say he was not justified in shooting a man last year.
The incident happened in May 2017.
Officials say on May 13th the AP&P Agent, Andrew O’Gwin, shot Joseph Alvin Gomez while at a stoplight near 4500 South and Main Street. It was reported that Gomez (in the passenger seat) pulled up next to him while waiting at a red light and got out of the vehicle and started yelling.
O’Gwin reportedly recognized Gomez, because police records say he had been assigned to supervise Gomez who had recently been paroled from the Utah State Prison. In fact, the night before, O’Gwin had stopped by Gomez’s house to do a residence check, but he wasn’t home, police records state. Later that evening the two spoke on the phone.
“According to O’Gwin, Gomez came around the front of his police vehicle and punched [his] driver’s side window with significant force and energy,” the probable cause statement states. “O’Gwin said Gomez struck his police car driver’s side window as ‘hard as he could’ with an ‘object’ in his hand. O’Gwin said Gomez did this three times” the document continued.
That’s when officials said O’Gwin fired his gun five times at Gomez, hitting him three times.
O’Gwin told investigators he fired his weapon because he was “in fear for [his] life”, records state.
“O’Gwin said he believed Mr. Gomez was not going to stop hitting the window until Gomez got inside the car,” the report read.
Gomez survived his injuries. After he was shot, officials say he got back in the car and was taken to the hospital.
Salt Lake District Attorney Sim Gill says reports on the incident were conflicting. Witnesses at the scene said Gomez got out of the car but never touched the window.
“Other than Agent O’Gwin’s statements, we cannot find a basis to conclude that the use of deadly force was necessary to prevent death or serious bodily injury to Agent O’Gwin,” Gill wrote to Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown and Rollin Cook, Executive Director of Utah Department of Corrections.
O’Gwin was charged with aggravated assault, a second degree felony punishable up to 15 years in prison.