DA’s Office clears officer in fatal Avenues shooting

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SALT LAKE CITY — James Barker was shot and killed by a Salt Lake City police officer on Jan. 8. Six weeks later, the Salt Lake County District Attorney ruled the shooting was justified.

The district attorney said he came to this ruling based on the facts presented to him, which was Officer Matthew Taylor’s interview, witness statements and the physical evidence.

Read full letter and statement about the decision here: Officer-involved shooting justified

It was the afternoon of Jan. 8 when Taylor responded to calls of a suspicious man in the Avenues near 2nd Avenue and I street.

Findings show Taylor’s interaction with Barker on a front porch quickly escalated and turned deadly. Body camera video show’s Barker taking a “batter’s stance” with a snow shovel.


DA Sim Gill said at that point, Taylor already started to get off the porch.

"He got hit, he went down, that the person who was the assailant then jumped on top, continued to assault with the shovel," Gill said.

Photos taken from the scene show the metal strip of the snow shovel completely broken off with bits and pieces of the shovel scattered in the yard.

Gill said Taylor did not try to use deadly force at first.

"At one time the officer tried to reach for his Taser to see if he could taze the person and realizing his clothing was there and also through the scuffle the Taser got kicked away from his hand," Gill said.

With several broken bones, cuts, bruises and his Taser out of reach, Taylor stated he knew he was in trouble.

"Usually in such altercations the person may assault an officer and run away -- that he continued to persistently attack and at one point as the struggle ensued, he felt that somebody tugging on his gun and of course that gave him greater concern," Gill told FOX 13.

Gill said that because Taylor was hit by the shovel, attempted to use his Taser, and felt Barker pull on his gun all contributed to the DA's ruling that the use of deadly force was legally justified.

Salt Lake City Police Chief Chris Burbank was not available for comment on the ruling.

We're told Taylor is still recovering from the injuries he sustained during the confrontation and has not been back to work yet.




    The outcome was never in doubt. Since Mr. Barker was white there will be no call to have the U.S. Attorney’s Office investigate.

  • Taylor and Gill are sociopaths

    Another example of how police can act like sociopaths and when people defend themselves and their rights sociopathic DA’s can refuse to hold other sociopaths accountable and as long as there are enough sociopathic voters those DA’s gave nothing to worry about


      Another example of what happens when you use your shovel as a weapon to injure a police officer. Just exactly what was James Barker “defending himself” from?

      • Anotherbob is crazy like the Taylor and Gill families who love sociopaths


        “Just exactly what was James Barker “defending himself” from?”

        The man who shot and killed him made implied threats and called his friends to come after making those threats. Barker didn’t have to wait around to see if his assailant would act on his threats or if it would become a gang of the man’s friends attacking him. At that point he was a citizen exercising his rights when he was threatened and he had the right to use force when dealing with a person like you. You are as messed up in your head as this officers and your families.


        ANOTHERBOB IS CRAZY LIKE THE TAYLOR AND GILL FAMILIES WHO LOVE SOCIOPATHS – Perhaps you should march right down and tell the DA (Sim Gill) where he got it all wrong. You could “ed-ur-kate” him on the finer points of the law. :)


        ANOTHERBOB IS CRAZY LIKE THE TAYLOR AND GILL FAMILIES WHO LOVE SOCIOPATHS – Barker was the suspect with the shovel. Don’t you comprehend what you read?

    • Suzanne

      Your ignorance is unbelievable! Do you even know the meaning of the word sociopath? Here’s a news flash for you – if you’re dumb enough to attack a police officer with a weapon of any kind, you just might get shot. What exactly would you have had the police officer do – lay down and let Mr. Barker beat him with the shovel?

  • Joshua Cartwright

    D.A “how many time did you have to shoot him?”
    cop “just enough to make sure he was dead… like three or four:”
    D.A. “Great job stopping a man with a shovel, and saving this city energy by not using your Taser to take him down with out a loss of life. Here is your two week paid vacation. You are clear to go.”


      Based on the time stamps of their comments we are forced to assume that TAYLOR AND GILL ARE SOCIOPATHS. JOSHUA CARTWRIGHT, and MR. T are all one and the same loser.

      • Response to a loser of a family of losers

        A perfect example of how sick you are. I made one post and the other two were made by someone else so get real. Timestamps prove people are the same. We’re you dropped on the head by the loser who gave birth to you. Your mom should have been aborted so the loser who gave birth to you would have not been alive to.

        You are truly pathetic. Go spend time with the idiots who love you because honestly we don’t care if you think you are special. You should have been aborted and here is hoping today is the last day of your worthless life and you don’t live to vote for someone like you


        One message at 4:29 AM and the next one at 4:323 AM this morning? You may fool a few of your friends but most of them are bright enough to figure the odds against such an implausible coincidence. You’re denial brands you as a liar. :)


      You have all the qualifications required to be a member of a citizen’s review board. You wouldn’t let facts cloud your opinion.

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