SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – Friends and neighbors of a man shot and killed by Salt Lake City police Monday described him as a kind person, who would “give you the shirt off his back, even if it was the last thing he had.”
Riche Antonio Santiago, 29, was shot and killed in an encounter with Salt Lake City police Monday. Police claimed Tuesday Santiago had brandished a gun after they encountered him following a 911 hang-up call. Police also told reporters Santiago had fired the weapon, prompting officers to fire on him.
Santiago’s friends and neighbors disagree with police’s account.
“He did nothing wrong,” said Aleyzia Grant, Santiago’s neighbor. Some at the Park Place at City Centre complex where Santiago lived said Santiago, who had previously had problems with the law, was trying to get his life back together. “He felt like [police] were out to get him,” said Grant, who said she spent time in a homeless shelter with Santiago before both were placed at the complex where Grant now lives.
“He was a good dude, he was that type of person that would always make sure you’re okay,” said Grant. “He always helped me with my kids…always made sure we were all right … He would always come up to the house to check up on us. He wasn’t the monster that everybody else is making him out to be.”
Police have turned the case over to West Valley City police, as per protocol.
“We don’t go out and say ‘we want to get into a shooting today,'” said Det. Greg Wilking with Salt Lake City Police. “This is very much dictated by the individual … their actions … and sometimes we have to act with deadly force.”
The department, which has been praised in the past for its de-escalation training, has had three officer-involved shootings in 2019. In 2018, there were four.
Wilking said sometimes, de-escalating a situation means shots are fired.
But groups like Utah Against Police Brutality are fed up with officers using deadly force, and are demanding that a stronger task force be created to hold the department accountable.
“I demand Chief [Mike] Brown – I demand more information…we demand the names of the officers…we demand transparency…the public deserves to know,” said Carly Haldeman, organizer for UAPB, who also used to live at the apartment complex where Santiago lived.
Friends and neighbors said Santiago had a wife, who lived in California, and several children. Details as to what led up to the shooting should be forthcoming when body-worn camera footage is made available within ten business days.
SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) One person is dead following a police officer-involved shooting in Salt Lake City Monday evening.
Salt Lake City police said officers responded to a 911 hang-up call from the area near an apartment complex at 350 East 700 South around 7 p.m.
SLCPD Patrol Sgt. Keith Horrocks said two officers were involved and at least one of them fired their weapons and a person was shot.
Police have not given any more information about the circumstances that led to the shooting.
Medical personnel responded and took over life-saving measures, but police said the person, who police referred to as a suspect, died on the scene.
West Valley City Police Department will handle the investigation into the shooting going forward.
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