Man who confronted suspect before deadly officer-involved shooting in West Valley City speaks

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah – A man who confronted a theft suspect minutes before he was shot and killed by West Valley City Police Sunday spoke to Fox 13 about the encounter.

The shooting occurred at a home in a cul-de-sac at 3580 South and 2140 West. The incident began with a theft at a cell phone store about a mile away on Redwood Road.

As officers approached the suspect, police say he ran and tried to get inside a house in a nearby neighborhood.

“He had hopped our fence, and I turned around and he was right there trying to come into the garage,” said Braden, who preferred not to disclose his full name. “So me and my dad just turned around and pretty much told him ‘No.’”

Braden and his father were doing work in the garage and backyard when they confronted the suspect.

“We told him to stop and sit down and he just took off running out of the yard and hopped another fence, we had cops running through here,” Braden said.

West Valley City Police say the suspect ran from that first confrontation and then broke into a second house on 2140 West.

“There were three children inside the home at that time,” Chief Colleen Jacobs of West Valley City PD said. “To our knowledge the suspect has no connection to either home.”

Three West Valley City Police officers followed the suspect into the home, and, “shots were fired and the suspect is deceased,” Jacobs said.

Police have released few details about the suspect—only saying he was an adult wearing a gray hoodie and black pants. Police could not confirm if the suspect had a weapon.

Braden says the man who tried to get into his house was a young, African-American male and he doesn’t believe he was armed.

“I don’t think so, because if he was armed, I figure he would do something to us,” he said.

He says the whole confrontation was quick, but he never feared for his safety.

“He didn’t seem as a threat,” he said. “He really didn’t to me, or to my dad. He pretty much walked in, we told him no and to get out, and he pretty much turned away.”

Police say the kids who were in the house where the man was shot are safe Sunday night.

Unified Police are investigating the shooting, as Utah law requires all officer-involved critical incidents to be investigated by an outside agency.