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Armed man shot by officers inside West Valley police station

Published: Monday, April 29 2013 10:05 a.m. MDT

West Valley City Police say James Ramsey Kammeyer, 39, walked into the front lobby of the police station and asked the officer working at the front desk to come out from behind his enclosed, secure area to talk to him Monday morning, April 29, 2013. Police shot and wounded Kammeyer, a registered sex offender.

Utah Department of Corrections

WEST VALLEY CITY — A man who police say "wanted to die suicide by cop" four months ago was shot in the front lobby of the West Valley Police Department Monday after allegedly pointing a gun at officers.

Just before 8:30 a.m., James Ramsey Kammeyer, 39, walked into the front lobby of the police station and asked the officer working at the front desk to come out from behind his enclosed, secure area to talk to him.

"The officer said he was behaving somewhat suspiciously in that he had his hands in his pockets and his behavior was such that it alarmed the officer right off. The individual continued to ask the officer to come into the lobby and speak to him further. When the officer wouldn't approach him, he removed a weapon from his pants pockets," said West Valley Police Sgt. Jason Hauer.

"It's not normal that people come in to the lobby and say, 'Hey, come talk to me.' They're not afraid to approach the officers at the glass and the records clerks there and speak to them. This gentleman's behavior was abnormal for regular business."

The officer and a records clerk called for assistance and veteran officers already in the building came to the lobby area to help, Hauer said.

At some point during the confrontation, an unidentified officer, from about 15 to 20 feet away, fired multiple rounds. "When the officer involved felt that the threats were such that he needed to take action, he fired," Hauer said.

Kammeyer was hit twice in the right arm. He was treated at a local hospital and was later booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of attempted murder, aggravated assault, possession of a weapon by a restricted person, aggravated burglary and threats against life or property.

Hauer said he couldn't say whether the gunman fired his weapon because it was "too early" in the investigation. Hauer also did not know if Kammeyer saw the other officers approach him because he said he seemed to be concentrated on pointing his gun at the officer at the front desk.

Hauer said "multiple rounds" were fired by the officer, but couldn't say exactly how many.

Detectives attempted to interview Kammeyer, but he declined to speak with them. "He has invoked his Miranda privilege and is not going to offer any statement," Hauer said.

Acting West Valley Police Chief Anita Schwemmer said the shooting was frightening, even for trained officers. She offered her gratitude for the bulletproof glass and metal plating funded by the City Council and installed just six months ago.

"Those remodeling changes were done to that lobby for this specific purpose, because, of course, there had been attacks around the nation on other police departments," Schwemmer said.

Just outside the police station, where there is a TRAX platform between it and the West Valley City Hall, a train had just pulled up when the shooting occurred. Passenger James Tabler said he watched as an officer outside the building moved quickly toward the lobby.

"I watched a cop walk up with his gun drawn. He got to the brick wall, and all of a sudden I saw five shots come out of the building," he said.

Bullet holes were visible in the glass of the police department lobby Monday. Tabler said he heard five to six shots.

TRAX passenger Bonnie Barkhimer also heard the shots.

"Then we heard what sounded like firecrackers and I jumped over the seat into this lady's seat and asked her if she saw what we thought we saw, and people came swarming out of the police station," she said. "Everybody on the train was ducking and covering and we had no idea where the bullets were coming from."

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