SALT LAKE CITY — Chief Mike Brown said he stands behind an officer who fatally shot a man who allegedly brandished a weapon in downtown Salt Lake City late Sunday.
Police are releasing few details about the shooting death of Patrick Harmon, 50. Unified police will investigate the shooting, Brown said Monday.
"Sometimes we have to use deadly force in the course of what we had hoped would be a routine stop," the Salt Lake police chief said.
He said he didn't know exactly what happened but trusts his officers have the training and judgment to react properly when they have to make split-second decisions.
"We want our officer to know we stand behind him, we love him," Brown said. "It's always hard and difficult when there's a loss of life."
Brown would not say why Harmon was initially stopped, where he was wounded, how many shots were fired or what kind of weapon he pulled when three officers attempted to take him into custody Sunday night.
Harmon pulled out the weapon when the three officers were talking to him, Brown's department said.
The three officers sought to take Harmon into custody because warrants had been issued for his arrest, including for a suspected felony, though Brown wouldn't say what the felony was.
Each was wearing a body camera that was turned on, according to the chief.
Court records show Harmon is known to law enforcement, with assault, robbery and burglary cases dating back more than a decade.
A judge issued a warrant for Harmon's arrest in April after he was convicted of aggravated assault. Police said he punched a man twice in March 2016 and threatened to break a woman's car with a metal pole after he was told to leave the man's home.
Brown said he didn't know all the details because his agency has handed over the investigation to Unified police.
Here's what is known from police about what led up to the death, and its aftermath:
• An officer stopped Harmon, who was on foot on the side of the road at 1050 S. State about 10:20 p.m. Sunday.
• Officers used de-escalation tactics but were unsuccessful.
• Officers immediately gave the man medical care. He was transported to a hospital, where he later died.
• Salt Lake police initially described the victim as a black adult man.
• Witnesses told police they saw the encounter that led to the shooting death.
Brown said he expects Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill to review Unified's investigation and said camera footage is not expected to be released until Gill determines whether the shooting was legally justified.
Salt Lake City's police training unit also will review the video, Brown said, adding that he personally saw some of the video taken from a distance.
"This will be under scrutiny," Brown said. "This will be investigated thoroughly."
The investigation won't be finished for at least a few weeks, Unified Police Lt. Brian Lohke said. The department gives officers involved in shootings two to three days to retain a lawyer before interviewing them, which he said is a national standard.