OREM, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) – Several elements to a shooting that left the suspect dead in the parking lot of a Maceys grocery store in Orem Saturday morning.
The string of events began at an apartment complex near 17S, 4E; police responded to a call about an assault in the area.
“When he [police officer] went over to talk to the people they said that the car that was just leaving, that the driver had assaulted one of the girls that was standing there,” said Capt. Ned Jackson with Orem Police.
Officers pursued the suspect but for the public’s safety they backed off. The suspect was then involved in a car accident near 1010S, 4E and fled the scene. Two passengers also fled but were soon detained by police.
After questioning, police learned the name of the suspect as well as his possible location.
“A short time later we get a call from a gentleman that says he lives in the area. He says the guy rode up on a bicycle, dumped the bicycle got into this white truck right here and stole it and left,” said Jackson.
The suspect, who was identified as a 26 year-old Polynesian man with several outstanding warrants, drove the truck to the Maceys at 880 N. State St.
A female shopper in a grey SUV had just finished shopping, and while her vehicle running, stepped out of the SUV to check on something either in the back seat. The suspect approached the woman and attempted to car jack her vehicle.
Police say the woman attempted to grab her purse out of the SUV and the two began fighting.
Officers say witnesses heard the woman screaming very loud. At this point, a third party citizen with a concealed weapons permit heard the commotion, grabbed his 9mm handgun and approached the scene. The suspect, who was already in the driver’s side of the car, ordered the suspect to step out of the vehicle.
“The guy gets out of the car, raises his hands, takes a step or so and then makes a lunge for the gun. The guy shoots one round and strikes the suspect in the chest,” said Jackson.
Police received the call about the attempted car jacking at 11:18a.m. and were on the scene promptly after shooting. Paramedics responded quickly to the scene and noticed the suspect had a weak pulse. He was quickly transported to Utah Valley Regional Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.
The question is now whether the shooter in this case would be charged in the mans death.
ABC 4 Utah spoke with a criminal defense attorney who shared with us general legal information. The criminal defense attorney is in no way connected to the case and was speaking based only on his experience in practicing law.
“Can a person come to the aid of law enforcement? Of course they can, and I would hope that police would welcome it. For a law abiding citizen who is trained in the use of a weapon. He may have saved someone’s life for that matter,” commented Barton Warren a criminal defense attorney in Salt Lake City.
While several factors are being considered in determining whether the man in this case would face charges, police are saying that it is unlikely the shooter would be charged.
“Police may just deem it to be a, what they call it a clean shoot or appropriate to use lethal force under those circumstances,” said Warren.
The investigation is ongoing and officers are sifting through several pieces of evidence from all crime scenes. Police are also looking through dash cam video as well as cell phone video taken by witnesses.
The 31-year-old shooter and the woman whose car was being car jacked were both taken in by police for questioning. Orem police will not release the name of the suspect until next of kin is contacted.