The district attorney has cleared a Salt Lake County sheriff's detective in the March shooting death of a suspected drug runner.
Jose Enrique Gelpi, 49, was shot and killed March 20 as officers tried to arrest him near 600 East and 600 South in Salt Lake City. In a letter sent to Sheriff Jim Winder this week, the Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office said the shooting was "legally justified."
Police said detectives had been investigating Gelpi and were attempting to arrest him for drug trafficking, when Gelpi struck an officer with a vehicle.
"As the deputies tried to remove Mr. Gelpi from the driver's seat, Mr. Gelpi turned the car into the deputies and accelerated," according to a statement from the district attorney. "One deputy was knocked to the ground and his left leg was injured. The other deputy discharged a single round, striking Mr. Gelpi in the head."Comment on this story
The deputy suffered minor injuries to his leg, police said. The names of the officers involved in the incidentarresting and shooting have not been released.
Gelpi was the third person to be killed by Salt Lake area police officers this year.
South Salt Lake police shot and killed Ross M. Sullivan on Jan. 21 after Sullivan cut an officer with a sword at the end of a 90-minute standoff. Two days later, South Salt Lake police shot and killed Ronald Evan Larsen, who fired at police when they tried to approach his home.
The officers involved in those shootings were also cleared after investigations by the district attorney's office.