Bystander and passing truck ‘likely struck by law enforcement gunfire’ in Utah Co. incident

PROVO, Utah — The Utah County Sheriff’s Office released new details Wednesday about an officer-involved shooting and chase incident last month.

During the December 20 incident, law enforcement officers exchanged gunfire with 37-year-old Arturo Ray Gallemore-Jimenez in a pursuit from Nephi to Orem.

A 21-year-old man who had stopped on the freeway to put fuel in a pickup truck suffered a gunshot injury from a stray bullet. A bullet lodged in that man’s back and broke into fragments, which were surgically removed on January 4.

Another bullet struck a pickup truck driven by a 37-year-old Spanish Fork man who was transporting his family. No one in that pickup truck was injured.

“The location of the suspect, Deputies, and Officer during the exchange of gunfire lead investigators to believe that the round that struck the 21-year-old Provo man and the round that struck the passing pickup most likely came from a weapon fired by law enforcement in response to shots fired at them by Gallemore-Jimenez,” a statement from the Utah County Sheriff’s Office said.

Law enforcement officials began pursuing Gallemore-Jimenez after Nephi Police received a report of a shooting at or near a gas station. A witness told police Gallemore-Jimenez had locked himself out of a pickup truck, then shot out one of the vehicle’s windows in order to get back in, a previous statement from the Sheriff’s Office said.

A Utah County Sheriff’s Office deputy spotted the pickup truck heading north on I-15 a short distance south of the Spanish Fork Main St. exit, according to the statement released Wednesday.

“After other Deputies and a Spanish Fork Officer got into position, the Deputy initiated a traffic stop on I-15 at mile 260, a short distance north of the SR-77 overpass. The suspect, Arturo Ray Gallemore-Jimenez, age 37, initially complied with commands of Deputies to put his hands out the window,” the statement said.

But Gallemore-Jimenez withdrew his hands and began firing shots toward the law enforcement officers, who returned fire “for less than 6 seconds,” the statement said.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, Gallemore-Jimenez then led Deputies and Officers on a chase “at speeds of approximately 30 MPH.”

Deputies, officers and UHP troopers then positioned themselves at nearby freeway exits to prevent Gallemore-Jimenez from leaving the freeway and further endangering the public, the statement said. Law enforcement officers also closed freeway on-ramps in the area to keep drivers away from the scene.

“As Gallemore-Jimenez approached University Parkway he turned abruptly toward the off ramp. The Deputy positioned there then fired multiple rounds at Gallemore-Jimenez for less than 4 seconds. Further up the off ramp, Gallemore-Jimenez veered off the pavement and crashed into a fence. A few minutes later he crawled out of his pickup,” the statement said.

Deputies and officers then took Gallemore-Jimenez into custody. The case remains under investigation.