SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — The Salt Lake City Police Department released body camera footage showing officers in pursuit of a fugitive on Friday, Jan. 13. He was reportedly shot during the pursuit and transported to the hospital in critical condition. Police say he died about a week later.
In compliance with Salt Lake City ordinance, SLCPD released multiple clips on Wednesday, Feb. 1, showing body-worn camera footage of the officer-involved-critical incident. All 12 videos can be viewed on SLCPD’s YouTube Channel.
SLCPD’s Gang Unit was investigating two fugitives with felony warrants early Friday morning when they found a car in an alleyway near 1300 West Arapahoe Avenue, according to the press release.
When officers reportedly conducted a traffic stop at about 2:55 a.m., the driver, later identified as 41-year-old Penisimani Halai, and the passenger refused to exit the vehicle as ordered.
Then, Halai allegedly reversed, hit a parked car and drove out of the alleyway. The vehicle crashed through a fence and into a yard, eventually ending up on 1300 West, the press release states. At this point, a pursuit was reportedly initiated, and officers requested air support from the Utah Department of Public Safety.
Police used a tire deflation device on the vehicle’s front wheels, but Halai continued driving. During the pursuit, Halai allegedly hit two SLCPD cars, causing minor damages. The press release points out that Halai was driving “recklessly,” including veering onto the sidewalk and almost hitting an officer as he was exiting his vehicle.
Halai later reportedly crashed his car head-on into an empty, parked truck near 500 North Star Crest Drive. He then got out of the car and ran south toward a house.
An officer reportedly tased him, but it did not incapacitate him. Two other officers then fired their guns at Halai, the statement reads.
The fugitive broke into a house through a ground-level window, which police say he had no reason or right to do.
As officers were ordering Halai to surrender, body-worn camera footage reportedly showed the fugitive reaching for the door handle and that he had “an object” in his waistband. Police also say they saw Halai has something in his hands after reaching down toward the ground.
At the same time, a second group of officers detained the passenger found in the backseat of Halai’s vehicle, the press release says. The identity of the passenger will not be released, SLCPD reports.
A third officer allegedly fired additional shots at Halai. Then, several SLCPD officers entered the home through the window, front door and garage, according to the press release.
Authorities allegedly found Halai in the house with two other residents and took the fugitive into custody. Officers also secured a weapon they found on Halai.
The fugitive was reportedly critically injured and transported to the hospital. He died on Saturday, Jan. 21. Representatives from SLCPD say they are waiting on autopsy results from the Utah Office of the Medical Examiner.
At this time, SLCPD reports that four officers are on paid administrative leave pending further review.