District Attorney: WJ officer’s use of deadly force against California fugitive ruled justified

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34-year-old Jose Martinez

34-year-old Jose Martinez was wanted out of Sacremento County, California for aggravated kidnapping (courtesy: West Jordan Police Dept.)

WEST JORDAN, Utah – The Salt Lake District Attorney’s Office held a press conference Wednesday to rule the West Jordan officer’s use of deadly force against a California Fugitive back in July justified.

According to District Attorney Sim Gill, officers were assisting in serving an arrest warrant on Jose Martinez, 34, at a relatives home on West Jordan. Officers were able to get the residents out of the home but Martinez continued to refuse, indicating he had a weapon and wanted to die.

Gill said Martinez continued to refuse to surrender so tear gas was used as well as a stink bomb to try to get the suspect and take him into custody safely.

Negotiations went on for over an hour before the tear gas was sent into the unit. 

The team eventually went to the stairs to approach the suspect but Martinez came out from behind a door with a raised arm covered with a towel. 

Fearing imminent safety for his life, the West Jordan officer shot the suspect, Gill said. After the suspect fell to the ground he attempted to point his arm once again at the officers, and the officer shot him again.

Police discovered inside the towel was a half pair of scissors and a gun was not found on Martinez, however Gill said he never told police he was not armed, he was known to have weapons and he concealed his arm with a towel not allowing officers to see if he had a gun or not.


Background to shooting:

WEST JORDAN (ABC4 News) – Officers shot and killed a man wanted out of California after an hours-long SWAT standoff in West Jordan Friday night.

West Jordan Police told ABC4 that another law enforcement agency was tracking 34-year-old Jose Martinez, a fugitive wanted for aggravated kidnapping out of Sacramento County, California.

When law enforcement caught up with Martinez, police said he ran off. K9 officers with West Jordan Police Dept. responded and tracked him near 6800 South Prairie Dune Drive (approximately 3800 West) in West Jordan, where police said he barricaded himself inside a family member’s condo.

SWAT teams were called in and, according to police, during negotiations Martinez implied he had a weapon. The standoff lasted several hours.

SWAT members obtained a key and went into the condo after several hours. That’s when officers said shots were fired, and Martinez was killed.

No officers were injured.

West Jordan Polie dept. invoked officer-involved incident protocol. Because officers with West Jordan Police Dept. were involved in the shooting, West Valley Police Dept. is investigating.

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