SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill says the use of deadly police force in the fatal shooting of a stabbing suspect in Pioneer Park was justified.
Gill walked through the findings of an officer-involved shooting that left a man dead on June 10 in Pioneer Park.
Gill says the officers feared for their lives and safety and believe the use of force in this incident was “not unreasonable.”
In early June, emergency crews were called to Pioneer Park for a reported stabbing. Fire crews were first on scene and began rendering aid to an unidentified woman. Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown says bystanders, including construction workers, quickly began rendering aid to the woman, who sustained injuries to her arm and abdomen. According to Brown, if it had not been for those bystanders, the woman may not still be alive.
You can listen to the 911 calls from that day in the video player here.
While emergency crews were rendering aid to the woman, Chief Brown says a man, later identified as 39-year-old Rezek Yaqub Yahya, began to approach the scene with a knife. Salt Lake City Police officers told Yahya to drop the knife, but he did not. As the man continued to approach the scene, Chief Brown says two officers fired their weapons. You can watch the body camera video here.
After Yahya falls down, officers continue to ask him to put the knife down as he lays on the ground. An officer can be heard saying, “put the knife down, I want to help you.” Officers place one of Yahya’s hands in handcuffs, then repeatedly ask him where he has been injured.
Yahya does not appear to respond, and officers continue to speak to him while waiting for emergency responders to arrive. The first responders, who had just loaded the woman into an ambulance, rushed to aid Yahya, but were unsuccessful.
A day after the shooting, the Salt Lake City Fire Chief said Yahya did not die of a gunshot wound but massive cardiac arrest.
A press conference is scheduled for noon on Friday, Sept. 17. ABC4 will stream the full briefing in the video player above at that time.