SALT LAKE CITY — A Salt Lake police officer was legally justified when he shot and killed a knife-wielding man, the Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office announced Wednesday.
About 10 p.m. on Aug. 13, Patrick Harmon was shot and killed by officer Clinton Fox after Harmon threatened to "cut you" while holding a knife and facing three officers close by, according to a report from the district attorney's office.
Harmon was initially stopped by police for riding his bicycle across six lanes of traffic on State Street near 1000 South and for not having a required tail light, the report states. After giving officers several different names, police learned that Harmon had several warrants out for his arrest.
Fox said Harmon seemed emotional, distraught and nervous, talked about "getting right with God," and said he was trying to take care of his warrant, the report states.
"Harmon pleaded with the officers not to go to jail. The officers took Mr. Harmon's hands and placed them behind his back. As Mr. Harmon’s hands went behind his back, Mr. Harmon bolted from the officers and ran," the report states.
At one point, Harmon stopped running and turned around to face the pursuing officers while holding a knife, according to the report.
"Fox said Mr. Harmon came at the officers with something in his hand. Officer Fox said he was terrified by how close Mr. Harmon was to the officers when Mr. Harmon stopped and turned toward them," the report states. "Officer Fox said he feared if he didn’t immediately use deadly force, Mr. Harmon was going to stab him and/or the other officers."
Fox fired his weapon three times, according to the report.
"Officer Fox said that in 10 years of law enforcement and two military deployments, it was the scariest situation he had ever been in," investigators wrote.
The officers were wearing body cameras at the time, which Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill used in part to make his decision.
Over the weekend, several dozen protesters — including Harmon's family who drove to Salt Lake from St. Louis — stood outside the Salt Lake City Police Department demanding the release of the body-camera footage.
On Wednesday, Salt Lake police said now that the district attorney's office had completed its investigation, the department was preparing the video to be released.