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Man killed by police said he'd die before spending lots of time in jail

Family says victim was not armed when officer shot him

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 12 2014 9:45 a.m. MDT

Updated: Wednesday, Aug. 13 2014 6:43 a.m. MDT

The body of a man who was shot in the parking lot of a 7-Eleven store at 2102 S. State is covered on Monday, Aug. 11, 2014, in South Salt Lake.

Tom Smart, Deseret News

SOUTH SALT LAKE — A man who was shot and killed by police Monday apparently wrote on his Facebook page last week that he would "die before I go do a lot of time" in jail.

Dillon Taylor, 20, died in the parking lot of a 7-Eleven store at 2102 S. State.

About 7 p.m. Monday, officers responded to a report of a man "waving a gun around," investigators said Tuesday. When police arrived, they found three men leaving the convenience store. One of the men, later identified as Taylor, reportedly matched the description of the man reported in the 911 call.

Three officers gave Taylor verbal commands to reveal his hands, but Taylor failed to comply and was "visibly upset," according to South Salt Lake Police Sgt. Darin Sweeten.

Taylor was subsequently shot and died at the scene.

Police would not say Tuesday whether Taylor was armed or what behavior led the Salt Lake police officer to shoot him. Family members, however, insist that he had no gun.

Taylor's brother and a cousin were with Taylor and were compliant with officers, Sweeten said. No arrests were made.

A warrant was issued for Taylor's arrest last week, and the man had indicated on his Facebook page that he didn't want to go to jail.

The arrest warrant was issued Thursday for "failure to comply with probation," according to court documents. In a Facebook post from the same day, Taylor mentioned his difficulty with police.

"I feel my time is coming soon, my nightmears are telling me. im gonna have warrnts out for my arrest soon. ALL my family has turned and snitched on me. ill die before I go do a lot of time in a cell," he wrote. "I feel like god cant even save me on this one … this time coming its me and the demons im fighting."

Sweeten said it was unlikely that officers knew who Taylor was prior to the shooting or that he had a warrant.

Taylor's aunt, Gina Thayne, says she has taken care of Taylor and his siblings since their parents died five years ago. Although the family struggled, they had a close relationship, she said.

"It's really hard. It's been a roller coaster for the last five years with these kids," Thayne said. "It seems like every time they take two steps forward to try and straighten things up, they go three steps back. … It's caused a huge hardship on this family once again."

Varying accounts

Witnesses at the scene gave varying accounts of Monday's shooting. Taylor's brother was with him at the 7-Eleven Monday night.

"We walked out of the 7-Eleven and the next thing we know, we're surrounded by cops," Jerrail Taylor said. "My brother had his headphones in and is walking away. … They finally surrounded him, he went to pull up his pants, and they killed him."

He says no one in the group was armed.

"All this complaining about one of us having a gun, I'm kind of lost at, because none of us had a gun," he said.

Jerrail Taylor said the officers surrounded his brother and shot him twice in the chest.

One man said he heard two shots and said it appeared Dillon Taylor was fleeing when he was shot by officers. Police, however, would not confirm whether Taylor was trying to evade authorities.

"There's not any initial indication that he was necessarily fleeing," Sweeten said. "He was not complying with the officers' orders that they were giving him. It still needs to be investigated."

Rick Munoz said he saw police approach three men, then heard two gunshots.

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