KEARNS, Utah (ABC4) – The family of Bryan Peña Valencia, the man killed in an officer-involved shooting in Taylorsville issued a statement after Sim Gill’s ruled that the use of deadly force was not justified.
Despite the ruling officials say no criminal charges will be filed against the Unified Police officer accused of shooting and killing a Kearns man.
The statement from the family reads as follows:
“Today, we were informed of the ruling on Bryan’s shooting in March of 2020. The shooting was ruled NOT JUSTIFIED, BUT NO CRIMINAL CHARGES WILL BE FILED, DUE TO LACK OF EVIDENCE.
We feel a sense of relief from today’s decision from the District Attorney’s office. However, we are forever left with heavy hearts as we try and heal. Bryan wasn’t asking for that night to happen. It’s heartbreaking to hear how many people think a life can be taken by what they say was a mistake. We, Bryan’s family want to tell this to the officer: ‘Your mistake took the life of someone that not only was trying to better himself, but was a person of great moral character, a person who cared for others and did everything to help even if he had nothing to give. He lit up the room with his positive and humorous attitude. He was a father, son, and brother. No matter how you put this, you took a life, our Bryan’s life and marked his son’s and our lives forever.’
This is only the beginning of an uphill battle, it feels like we are trying to push a boulder up a mountain, but if there is one thing this family has is GRIT. We are not afraid to do hard things, it is what fuels us. We will continue to fight for justice, He deserves it and so does his son. In the report it states the officer made a mistake, unfortunately this mistake took Bryan’s life. Justified or not justified, mistakes have consequences. We are still left with so many unanswered questions and we will never know what truly happened that night. The police are here to protect and serve and they are trained to use other methods rather than deadly force, but to find out there was no footage of the shooting, no weapon, no threat, all we are left with is WHY? And we are given one answer, ‘It was a mistake.’ We are not sure what to do with that.
We thank everyone that has respected our wishes for privacy, and we navigate through this difficult time. WE AS A FAMILY WILL RISE TOGETHER, AS WE ALWAYS DO AND FIND JUSTICE FOR BRYAN.”
Pena was 28-years-old.