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Thanh Minh Tran

WEST VALLEY CITY — The man shot and killed by West Valley police Tuesday evening fired on officers first, officials revealed today.

Thanh M. Tran, 36, was shot and killed by police outside Pailin Jewelry, 3538 S. Redwood Road, about 5:45 p.m. Tran, who was armed with a 9 mm semi-automatic handgun, had just robbed the store and walked out with a hostage, the wife of the store's owner, said West Valley police Capt. Tom McLachlan.

Officers were at the store immediately and confronted Tran as he walked out. They ordered him to release his hostage and drop his weapon, McLachlan said.

The woman was somehow able to break free of her kidnapper and run to safety. Tran raised his gun in the direction of the officers and fired a shot that hit a window and door frame of a neighboring business, McLachlan said. Three officers returned fire, shooting Tran an undisclosed number of times, killing him.

"Even as he was going down he continued to try and resist officers," McLachlan said.

An autopsy for Tran was scheduled for today.

McLachlan called the woman who was taken hostage "very brave."

Court records show Tran has an extensive criminal history dating back to at least 1990. His numerous charges over the years have included aggravated assault, theft, drug possession and burglary.

"He's been booked into jail from Orem to Ogden," McLachlan said.

The three officers involved in the shooting have been placed on standard paid administrative leave.


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