Police detectives and the Salt Lake County attorney's office continued their investigations Tuesday into the death of a bank robbery suspect shot three times by Salt Lake police officer J.R. Nelson.
The shooting occurred in the front yard of a home at 1236 E. Laird Ave. at 11:54 a.m.Russell Ray Daines, 21, who was shot twice in the chest and once in the arm, was pronounced dead at University Hospital about 1:30 p.m. Monday, a hospital spokesman said.
Daines was chased from 1261 E. Sherman Ave. (340 South), where he had been hiding while police were canvassing the neighborhood with dogs.
Officers were looking for a suspect in the 9 a.m. robbery of Key Bank, 290 S. 13th East.
The robber showed a teller an automatic handgun and demanded cash, threatening to kill her if she tripped any alarms, said Lt. Joel Campbell.
After stealing less than $1,000, the bandit fled in a car. A man driving a car matching the bandit's vehicle parked in a driveway at 1330 S. 13th East, jumped out and ran down Sherman Avenue into a yard. Police lost his trail at that point and began surrounding the block. An FBI SWAT team and West Valley Police Department K-9 units were called to assist.
About 11:50 a.m., a police officer checking the back yard of 1261 E. Sherman Ave. spotted Daines emerging from some bushes. The officer told him to stop, but the suspect scaled a fence and ran north through several yards, crossing 13th South, where pursuing officers lost sight of him.
Meanwhile, Nelson, stationed at Sherman Avenue and 13th East, had driven his patrol car down Laird Avenue, parking it on the north side near 1230 East, said detective Sgt. Don Bell. As Nelson walked across the street he saw Daines come out of some bushes in the front yard of 1236 East.
Witness Mike Carter, who was about two houses down from the yard, said he saw Nelson pull his .38-caliber revolver and crouch in a combat position.
"(elson) yelled something like, `Stop,' `Get down' or `Put it down,' " Carter said. "And then he fired. I didn't see him shoot but I heard three quick blasts in rapid succession."
Nelson told detectives that Daines had raised his hand and made some verbal threats.
Following the shooting, Nelson ran to Daines, handcuffed him and pulled him from the bushes to the lawn. Daines yelled obscenities at the officers and demanded medical help, Carter said.
When Daines was secured, Nelson walked about 30 yards away and sat down in the shade. He appeared to be suffering from mild shock but recovered quickly to explain his story to detectives.
Bell said no gun has been found but officers did find a belt and a watch believed to have belonged to Daines. Some bank money and a gun clip containing .22-caliber bullets have also been recovered, the sergeant said.
An 8-year veteran of the police force, Nelson, 34, has been automatically suspended with pay pending the outcome of the criminal investigation and a review by the police department's shooting-review board, said Acting Police Chief Ed Johnson.
"If it's a justifiable shooting, we'd like to get him back to work as soon as possible," Johnson said.
Nelson is also being counseled by the department's Traumatic Incident Corps, composed of officers who have been involved in similar situations, the acting chief said.
Monday's fatal shooting by a Salt Lake police officer was the first since Patrolman David G. Madsen shot and killed Clemente Garcia, 24, who pointed a small handgun at officers following a chase that ended near Mountain Dell Reservoir. Madsen was cleared of any criminal or procedural wrongdoing in that shooting.
Daines, coincidentally, lived three houses down from Garcia.