OREM — A 19-year-old man accused of pulling a BB gun on an Orem police officer and pulling the trigger is lucky to be alive.
Orem Police Lt. Craig Martinez said two of his officers last month were faced with a man who pointed what appeared to be a real gun at one of the officers. The officer's partner immediately grabbed his own gun and would have shot the man if the other officer was just one more step back, he said.
"Honestly it's a matter of probably a foot why he wasn't shot," Martinez said.
Instead, the officers ended up disarming the man using nothing but their bare hands.
On Thursday, Orem police released body camera video of the dramatic event to show how quickly a potential deadly situation can unfold.
On Sept. 29, Orem police responded to a report of a suspicious vehicle. After finding the car and pulling it over for questioning, Anton Oliver Preto Bay, of Provo, who was in the back seat, gave the officer a false name, according to charging documents.
"When the officer confronted him about the false name, the defendant opened the door quickly and exited the vehicle. As the officer stepped back to avoid getting hit by the door, he heard a clicking sound and saw the defendant crouch and point a gun at another officer," the charges state.
Bay fired his weapon three times, according to charging documents.
Martinez said the officer who Bay pointed the gun toward didn't have time to grab his own gun. His partner, however, did draw his weapon.
"He saw the gun as it came up, and he drew his handgun and was about to shoot when the other officer closed the distance. So he didn't. And the only reason he didn't was because the other officer was so close to the suspect at the time," he said.
The officer who had the gun pulled on him lunged toward Bay and grabbed the barrel of Bay's gun with his hands and pointed it toward the ground, Martinez said. It was only then that the officers realized Bay was holding a BB gun, he said.
Bay was then tackled by officers.
"The defendant kept telling the officer that he would kill them," the charges state.
Martinez said officers believed Bay was trying to commit suicide by cop.
"You can hear him saying, 'Just kill me,'" he said. "This kid wanted us to shoot him, that's what it boiled down to. He had warrants. He didn't want to go to jail. He wanted us to shoot him."
Martinez said Orem police officer Dereck Sillitoe and Cpl. James Vance "did everything right" in this situation. He said both are "seasoned officers with SWAT experience and one with combat experience in the military."
Bay was charged Oct. 3 in 4th District Court with assault against a peace officer, a second-degree felony; giving a false ID to an officer, a class A misdemeanor; marijuana possession, a class B misdemeanor; and unlawful alcohol possession, a class B misdemeanor.
A preliminary hearing in that case is scheduled for Oct. 31.
At the time of the incident, Bay had three other warrants out for his arrest.
In June, he was charged in Orem Justice Court with drug possession, possession of drug paraphernalia and alcohol possession, all class B misdemeanors. He pleaded no contest to the drug possession charge and was sentenced on Oct. 2 to probation.
In April, Bay was convicted of theft and failing to stop for a law enforcer after he fled from Springville police at a high rate of speed in a stolen car before crashing into a light pole. He spent more than three months in jail before being released, according to jail records. But a warrant was issued for his arrest in July when he violated conditions of his probation, according to court records.
In February, Bay spent four days in jail when he was arrested and later charged with several counts of vehicle burglary and drug possession. In charging documents, police noted that "Anton has a history of selling/using drugs" and that he had stated "he had no intention of attending his court dates or complying with parole requirements." Bay was sentenced to 10 days in jail and probation, court records state.