TAYLORSVILLE — The Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office has ruled a Unified police officer was justified in exerting deadly force in response to a domestic dispute in December.
District Attorney Sim Gill said the Dec. 20 shooting by officer Scott Lloyd was justified because of the "imminent deadly threat" that existed as Jose Luis Rodriguez-Castro held his girlfriend, Tina Martinez, at knifepoint in her car.
Officers were called to the Department of Workforce Services, 5686 Redwood Road, responding to reports from Martinez's family who said Rodriguez-Castro was holding her against her will and threatening her with a knife.
As Lloyd approached the car, Rodriguez-Castro reportedly said, "You need to leave. I'm going to die." Lloyd called for backup and continued to talk to Rodriguez-Castro, noting that the man became increasingly agitated and Martinez was "hysterical," according to the report.
Rodriguez-Castro dove into the back seat as additional officers arrived and held a hunting knife with a 7-inch blade to Martinez's throat. Lloyd told Rodriguez-Castro to drop the knife, withdrawing a firearm as Rodriguez-Castro attempted to stab Martinez and she grabbed the blade of the knife.
When Rodriguez-Castro moved the knife toward Martinez's throat, Lloyd fired his .40-caliber semi-automatic handgun 10 times, striking Rodriguez-Castro in the body seven times. Two more bullets were recovered from the vehicle, and one shot hit a truck in the parking lot.
Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder commended Lloyd's actions at the time of the incident.
"I believe this was an act of heroism on the part of the officer involved," Winder said. "We never make preliminary determinations until all the facts are collected. But I can tell you, from looking at the female victim here, she certainly believes that."