Family of man killed in encounter with police say he was suicidal, suggest officers had other options

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SPANISH FORK, Utah -- A Spanish Fork man was shot and killed by police Friday after they say he brandished a handgun in an LDS Church parking lot, and Saturday the man's family says police could have handled things differently.

The man killed in this case is 28-year-old William Evans. Evan's brother, Russell, said he and his mother both called police because they were worried about William. They told police that he had a gun, that he was acting suicidal, and that he needed help.

Officer Lance Rudd, a 15-year-veteran, encountered and shot Evans in an isolated area behind a church on 300 East Center Street.

A bullet hole could be found in the building. Police have not said if Evans fired toward the officer or pointed the gun in the officer's direction.

The Evans family says William was going through a rough time. He was already on probation when he relapsed on drugs and ended up getting fired from his job by his own brother just two days before he was killed.

He had also posted some disturbing comments on Facebook. On the day he was killed he wrote, "I hate my whole family on the Evans side, I hope I never see them again."

Earlier in the month he also wrote, "I'm going to do it, finally I found a great way out of this place to another better life more opportunities, ha yeah."

Evans' family said they knew William was serious when they spoke with him on the phone the day he died.

"He says, 'Mom, I'm suicidal. I got a shot that's big enough to kill me.'" said William's brother, Russell Evans.

Russell and his mother said they called police to make a welfare check and hopefully help save William's life. About an hour later, William was shot and killed by the officer.

Police said he was consuming heroin and made comments that he was going to be in a shoot out with police.

"There were so many options, they could have gotten on the roof, they could have stun gunned him, they could have waited it out, they just jumped the gun, they hurried and went back there--I mean it was within an hour of us calling in his wellness check that he was dead," said Russell Evans. "They didn't assess it as a suicide. They assessed it as, he is a convicted felon that's on probation and he's got a gun. That's all they cared about."

There has been some speculation if this was suicide by cop. William's family believes that's not the case because Russell said he received a call from William minutes before he was killed saying he wanted to be saved.

Police are not releasing any new information on the case until Monday.

20 comments

  • ANOTHERBOB

    If the family didn’t want the police to respond they shouldn’t have called them. When you point a firearm at a peace officer the response will be quick and automatic.

    • Nubbs

      No one even knows if he did point a gun at them, and he was alone in an empty parking lot. Why couldnt they wait it out. Cops are to quick to pull there gun and shoot. I dont kbow what happened, but it just seems there had to be another option. Thats why u dont call the cops on family. Cops just make bad situations worse.

      • ANOTHERBOB

        Waiting out a suspect that is pointing a gun at you is a really good way to make your wife a widow. Too bad this suspect was addicted to illegal drugs.

  • Ivan

    The police will do what they have to do to protect themselves so if you have a suicidal family member with a weapon don’t call the police unless they are going to hurt someone else.

    • Jerry Garcia

      I am sorry but as a taxpayer thats not true. Teach your children well and do not blame the police for what happens this was a felon with a gun. If they are crying for help get them help.

      • Nubbs

        This was a person a human being with a problem. He didnt drserve to die. And in this country they hand out frlonys and criminal charges like candy so saying hes a felon isnt a good excuse.

      • ANOTHERBOB

        NUBBS – It’s unfortunate that this drug addict chose to inflict his problems on others. The officer he was pointing a gun at was also a human being. Ever think of that NUBBS?

    • ANOTHERBOB

      No Valdez, we taxpayers don’t fear the police. We’re tired of the drug dealers, the drug users, the thieves, robbers, and the killers. Behave yourself, obey the law, keep your nose clean, and you can bet your life that the police will leave you alone.

    • Frank Castle

      Joseph, you’re and idiot. And the family of the “suspect”, not victim are idiots too. Why don’t they take ownership of having a felonious son on probation that was pointing guns at the police?! Its not hard to not be shot by the police, follow simple directions and don’t point guns at them. Our society is full of fools who want anarchy.

  • Shandon

    I think we need to thanking the officers and stop blaming them. THANK YOU Officer Rudd for protecting our community and your willingness to put your life on the line every day. I know that my family is well protected with officers like you in OUR community.

  • Cheryl

    I am sorry for the Evans family, as I can only imagine that was not the expected outcome for them. However, I want to say Thank you, Officer Rudd, for protecting the community! This man was edgy, but also engaged in shooting at an officer. No matter your checkered past or current mentality, if you are pointing a gun and shooting at a police officer, this is what can happen. Please stop blaming the police for doing their job! I am so grateful to them!!! They don’t get paid enough for going out on calls where they risk their lives for us on a daily basis!

  • marinda

    To the people saying bad stuff ….
    How the hell would you feel if this was your husband, brother, best friend , cousin ext… They tell you to call for help but when you do this is what happens? ?? There was other ways to handle this situation and just because you have a badge does not make you better then everyone else, Willie had family at home too … he wanted to be saved and got shot down for it ….
    I’m not saying the cop wanted to kill him but I am saying the cop could have done something different and found a way not to kill our precious Willie … .
    RIP Willie , I love you ……

    • ANOTHERBOB

      MARINDA
      How the hell would you MARINDA if you were told a police office who was murdered was your husband, brother, best friend, cousin, ….? That’s right MARINDA decent men and women who wear a badge have families including little children who wait for them to come home at the end of their shift. When you point a firearm at a peace officer and threaten his/her life they will respond instantly.

      People who don’t know what they’re talking about irritate those of us who do.

    • ANOTHERBOB

      By-the-way MARINDA why did the family feel the need to call the police for help? Weren’t you able to take care of the problem yourself?

  • MOJORIZN

    The Family had other options! They knew he had a gun and the specific type of ammunition he had. They should have intervened and removed the weapon and ammo long before any encounter with Law Enforcement. Because of their guilt in not doing this they want to blame a fine Police Officer and no doubt make a buck off the lawsuit they are no doubt contemplating.

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