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Shooting in West Valley police lobby deemed legally justified

Published: Monday, July 6 2015 10:46 p.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 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 West Valley police sergeant who shot an armed man in the lobby of the police department has been cleared by the Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office.

Sim Gill's office ruled Monday that Sgt. Jeff Conger was legally justified in using deadly force when he shot 39-year-old James Ramsey Kammeyer Jr. on April 29.

"Sgt. Conger had probable cause to believe Kammeyer posed a threat of death or serious bodily injury to the others if Kammeyer's apprehension was delayed," Gill wrote in his decision.

On April 29, Kammeyer entered the police lobby, 3575 S. Market St. (2790 West), and said he wanted to report a crime. The officer working the front desk noted that Kammeyer acted "fidgety" and "nervous," according to the district attorney's report.

Kammeyer asked if he could speak to the officer in private and if he would come out from behind the protective glass. Just as the officer was about to step out into the main lobby, he asked Kammeyer to take his hands out his pockets so he could see them. That's when Kammeyer took out a handgun and pointed it at the officer, the report states.

James Ramsey Kammeyer Jr. points his gun after entering the West Valley City Police lobby April 29, 2013. Kammeyer was shot by West Valley City officers moments later. The Salt Lake County district attorney has determined the shooting by the West Valley officers was justified. (West Valley City) James Ramsey Kammeyer Jr. points his gun after entering the West Valley City Police lobby April 29, 2013. Kammeyer was shot by West Valley City officers moments later. The Salt Lake County district attorney has determined the shooting by the West Valley officers was justified. (West Valley City)

Conger, who was upstairs, heard the call go out on a police radio about a man in the lobby with a gun. He raced down the stairwell and opened the door and reported seeing Kammeyer point a gun at him from about 10 feet away. Conger reacted by firing several shots while trying to take cover.

Kammeyer was struck twice in the arm. After being treated by doctors, he was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail.

He was charged in May in 3rd District Court with making a terroristic threat and three counts of aggravated assault. That court case is on hold pending a psychological evaluation.

The night before the shooting, West Jordan police were called to a domestic dispute between Kammeyer and his wife. He was charged May 1 with criminal mischief and two counts of domestic violence in the presence of a child.

Bullet holes in the windows of the West Valley City Police department. West Valley City Police officers investigate a shooting Monday, April 29, 2013 that occurred in the lobby of their offices when a man pulled out a gun and was shot by an officer. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News) Bullet holes in the windows of the West Valley City Police department. West Valley City Police officers investigate a shooting Monday, April 29, 2013 that occurred in the lobby of their offices when a man pulled out a gun and was shot by an officer. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

In December 2012, West Valley police were also called to deal with Kammeyer. He had cut his wrists and "told officers at that time that he wanted to die suicide by cop," a report states. He told officers he was a registered sex offender and his wife was taking his children away from him.

Court records show Kammeyer pleaded guilty to sex abuse of a child, a second-degree felony, in 1999. He was scheduled to go off the sex-offender registry in January if he didn't break any other laws.

Email: preavy@deseretnews.com Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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