SALT LAKE CITY — Body camera video released by Salt Lake City police on Wednesday shows the moments leading up to an officer firing at a fleeing suspect.
The officer's shots missed. But the man he was chasing was later found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound inside a nearby office building.
On Sept. 5, police were called to the Homewood Suites hotel, 423 W. 300 South, to remove some "unruly guests" from a room, according to a recording of the call made by the hotel manager to dispatchers.
When officers arrived they found four people inside the room. After checking their IDs, the officers discovered that one person, 35-year-old Michael Zahn, had a warrant out for his arrest.
A few minutes later, officers approached Zahn, who was now outside the hotel and across the street. As the officer walked up to Zahn to take him into custody, he is seen in body camera video suddenly breaking away from the officer and running away.
The chase lasted about a minute and went from 400 West into an alley near 330 South. Zahn created distance from the officer by climbing a fence into a courtyard. As the officer reaches the fence, a gunshot can be heard. Police later determined that Zahn shot out a glass door of an occupied office building at 333 S. Rio Grande St.
After the shot is fired, the officer draws his gun and yells "Stop right there!" He then fired two shots through the fence in the direction of Zahn, the video shows.
Salt Lake police on Wednesday said neither shot hit Zahn, who went inside the office building. Employees inside the business ran out and a SWAT team was called. Officers entered a few minutes later and found Zahn dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The Utah State Medical Examiner's Office confirmed Zahn's injuries were self-inflicted.Comment on this story
The shooting incident was still under investigation Wednesday by West Valley police. But it was unclear whether Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill would make a determination of whether the shots were justified.
In August, Gill announced he had found an unintentional loophole in the officer-involved shooting statute, which was created by state lawmakers in 2016. When no one is injured in an officer-involved shooting, Gill said he legally can't make a judgment.
He said both he and the American Civil Liberties Union are working on revising the law.