SALT LAKE CITY — A Taylorsville police officer who shot at an armed man who was fleeing from police in Kearns last month was justified in using his weapon, the Salt Lake County district attorney has determined.
Taylorsville police officer Brett Miller had been on paid administrative leave since March 1, when he fired one shot at Bryan W. Manseau during an arrest attempt near 4800 South and 4900 West. Manseau was not hit by the gunfire.
In a letter to Taylorsville Police Chief Del Craig on Friday, District Attorney Sim Gill stated that the office's investigation concluded "Miller's use of deadly force was justified under Utah law."
Taylorsville Police Lt. Rosie Rivera said the department is "pleased with the outcome," though officials Monday hadn't yet reviewed the findings from the district attorney.
About 5:30 p.m. March 1, Miller spotted Manseau walking with a woman along 4900 West. Miller recognized the man from prior incidents and was aware that he had a criminal history — including a stint in prison for a federal offense — and was a documented gang member, according to the district attorney's report.
Miller used his in-car computer to learn that Manseau had an outstanding arrest warrant and decided to inform the man of the warrant and take him into custody, the report states.
The officer stopped his vehicle near where Manseau and the woman were walking and activated his emergency lights. Manseau did not acknowledge the officer's presence and continued to walk away, according the report.
Miller exited his vehicle and called out to Manseau, ordering him to stop and informing him that there was a warrant for his arrest.
Following a brief exchange with Miller about the nature of the warrant, Manseau started to run. The officer noticed that Manseau kept one hand in the pocket of his sweatshirt during the chase, the district attorney's report states.
"Officer Miller noted that Manseau seemed to make a deliberate effort to conceal and retain control of whatever was in his hand," according to the report.
Miller shouted orders at Manseau to "stop," "get down on the ground" and to show his hands, but the man failed to comply, the report states.
As Manseau continued to run toward an apartment complex, he slipped and fell on a snow-covered lawn, according to the report. Officer Miller observed that Manseau had dropped the object he was carrying and was digging in the snow to find it.
When Manseau found the object, Miller was close enough to see that it was a gun, the report states. After re-arming himself, Manseau continued to run toward a corner of the apartment building.
"Miller was concerned that Manseau could ambush Miller as he rounded the same corner, or that Manseau could use the corner for cover and begin firing at Miller," Gill wrote in his report.
After Manseau again refused to comply with the officer's orders to stop and drop the weapon, Miller fired one shot at the man and missed, the report states.
Miller lost sight of Manseau after firing the shot. Moments later, a witness reported seeing Manseau throw two objects — one into an adjacent yard and the other onto a carport roof in the apartment complex, according to the report. Police later recovered both items: a firearm and a loaded magazine that fit the gun.
Shortly after talking with the witness, Miller spotted Manseau walking toward the road where the initial stop occurred. Manseau surrendered to Miller and was taken into custody, the report states.
Manseau has been charged with possessing a firearm by a restricted person and obstruction of justice, both third-degree felonies, as well as failure to stop at the command of law enforcement, a class A misdemeanor. A preliminary hearing on those charges is scheduled for 9 a.m. Thursday.
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