Police shoot, kill a man at Oquirrh Mountain LDS temple

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  • Rifleman Salt Lake City, Utah
    Dec. 27, 2010 6:41 p.m.

    Earth to Tom Smith: The police didn't "shoot first and ask questions later". They issued a lawful command which the gunman refused to obey.

    And no, Tom, the US Constitution does not give you the right to bear arms on private property.

  • Elrick Jacksonville, FL
    Dec. 27, 2010 3:33 p.m.

    I would be fearful of being placed in a life-threatening situation with someone holding a gun and not responding to commands to drop the weapon. There was no way to determine the mental status of the suspect. Law enforcement did not have history on the man (especially mental health history). But, I would also have tried to wound the man instead of out-right killing him. Such a marksman (the officer's one shot was lethal) could just as easily shot the suspect in the upper arm or leg to disable.

  • ciaobello Concord, CA
    Dec. 27, 2010 11:21 a.m.

    Awful news, especially at the site of a peaceful temple.

  • Resident Spanish Fork, UT
    Dec. 27, 2010 8:59 a.m.

    I wonder what the people, crying foul over the police, would say had they let him run, shoot, and kill either an officer or an innocent civilian?

    An officer was killed earlier this year after chasing after a kid with a rifle.

    Question: Who's fault is it that the gunman is dead?

    Answer: The gunman's.

  • Personal Responsibility! Mexico City, Mexico
    Dec. 27, 2010 1:50 a.m.

    Agreed, the investigation must be allowed to run it's course. But come on, people. Some are questioning the judgment of the police, however, it was the gentleman with the shotgun who's judgment that we should be the focus.

    Let's assume he had a permit to carry the deadly weapon. And let's even go so far as to assume that he'd taken the relevant gun safety training.

    His fatal mistake was made when he refused to listen to the police commands.

    Take this out of the realm of the gun. Let's focus on cars. Let's assume a man with a license was driving his car down the road at an unsafe speed -- let's say in a school zone. If the man refuses to stop when warned by the police, what will happen?

    Let's assume he survives the chase, the answer is that he will lose his privilege to drive -- and he should.

    The thing you bleeding hearts forget is that the officers' job is to protect all of us; and when one person breaks the law (refuses to obey the police), then they lose their freedom.

    Thanks, brave police officer!

  • Old Navy Provo, UT
    Dec. 26, 2010 10:21 p.m.

    I stand by the cops!

  • JohnJacobJingleHeimerSchmidt Beverly Hills, CA
    Dec. 26, 2010 9:11 p.m.

    Doesn't matter if he was shot in the back or not. If he was proceeding to threaten the public with his shotgun then lethal force is justified. You don't have the right to brandish a gun and threaten people, only for self defense.

  • rattler Syracuse, UT
    Dec. 26, 2010 9:06 p.m.

    For some reason there are always people who believe the police are the bad guys. I dare say that many lives have been saved because we have so many brave men and women who are willing to serve and protect the public. There is no way to guess how big a tragedy was averted yesterday by the actions of the police.
    Thank you to all law enforcement individuals.

  • Tom Smith Sandy, UT
    Dec. 26, 2010 9:03 p.m.

    Well let me be one of the "unintelligent ones". In a country where the Constitution provides a legal to open carry a firearm, and the "police" are sworn to uphold the Constitution, what gives the police the right to shoot first and answer questions when clearly this individual did not threaten the officers with a weapon. Until this man turned to confront the officers, there was no reason to fire. Having been accosted by good old never wrong and always truthful officers, my first impression is to run when I see them driving by on the street. I want nothing to do with them. This is just another Police Shooting in Utah. Does anyone know how many there were in 2010? It seems like there is at least one a week in the news.

  • GQ Monkee Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Dec. 26, 2010 7:34 p.m.

    While the comments on this site have not descended into the ridiculous mess that appears on the site for Salt Lake's other major paper, those speaking out against the police in this situation seem naive. Police go through a lot of training dealing with suspects who hold weapons, and firing on them is not the first recourse.

    The truth is that police do their jobs, and sometimes those jobs involve death. Police seek to aprehend; however, when a man with a deadly weapon is flailing it around and fleeing the police, public safety is more important than his presumed "rights."

    The theory of Social Contract asserts that his rights were lost when he put other citizens' at risk.

    As for shooting him in the back, I'm glad the police didn't try and head him off just so they could shoot him in the face.

  • DanielAZ Tucson, AZ
    Dec. 26, 2010 6:54 p.m.

    What a tragedy for everyone all the way around, except for the folks who didn't die as a result of solid training and good police work. An obviously disturbed individual is dead. Disturbed? Yes - walking around with a loaded shotgun at a house of worship is not something normal, even here in AZ! A police officer is probably a little shaken up with the knowledge he sent someone out of this world. The poor family of the dead man must be heart broken. And it's now all a very poignant Christmas memory for all involved. You are all in my prayers tonight.

  • xscribe Colorado Springs, CO
    Dec. 26, 2010 6:50 p.m.

    Correct me if I am wrong, and I may be wrong, but the person with the gun has a right to carry th gun, correct, if it is not concealed? I know you can carry a pistol if it is holstered and not loaded, but I'm not sure in Utah weather it's okay to carry an unconcealed rifle. Anyone? Maybe being on private property carries some weight? If I am correct, then the police should not have even asked him to surrender the weapon - I admit I haven't read the story - but merely asked him his intentions and then made a determination. In that regard, his rights could have been violated as far as the right to bear (unconcealed) arms. However, anyone not wanting to be shot (maybe that was his purpose in the first place) would cooperate, you would think, unless they have other intentions.

    Someone please enlighten us on the law in Utah as far as carrying weapons!

  • Doug10 Roosevelt, UT
    Dec. 26, 2010 3:35 p.m.

    the article says the man was running away, in other words he was shot in the back.

    perhaps he had re-thought his idea or position but did not want to discuss with many uniformed officers yelling at him.

    if police looked in half the cars in Utah they would find guns, not guns owned by trained individuals but by people who have purchased a permit to carry.

    too often people are shot to death by officers who are not trained to deal with people only with triggers.

    a man lost his life and so far the police have not proven he was guilty of doing something so drastic it should cost his life.

  • Maryquilter Farmington, UT
    Dec. 26, 2010 3:35 p.m.

    As the daughter of a former chief of police in southern California, I believe officers are trained to shoot if their life is in imminent danger or the lives of the public- and then you are to "shoot to kill". You don't aim for their knee caps, etc. and give them the possible chance to shoot at someone again. I agree with most of the comments; if someone is in a public place and confronting others and repeatedly asked to put the weapon down, then keeps the weapon and runs toward people, the officers have little choice. We have had too many public shooting sprees in our country in the past 10 years or so to hesitate and second guess the intentions of the gun toter; difficult and painful decisions for police officers to make; officers involved will never be the same. Of coarse sympathies go out to family of the shooter.

  • Toonces the Cat Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 26, 2010 2:38 p.m.

    Let me see if I've got this straight.

    1. Man with shotgun on private property.
    2. Man's car full of other types of guns and swords.
    3. Man gets in verbal fight with visitors in parking lot.
    4. Police called. They tell the man to drop weapon.
    5. Man refuses to drop weapon and runs away with shotgun in hand.
    6. Police shoot man.

    Seems like the police did a good job.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Dec. 26, 2010 2:29 p.m.


    There is no need to check anyone's rights. Per the constitution, they are the same for you, me, the sane, the insane. It simply doesn't matter who we are, we carry the same rights.

    Perhaps you mean check their mental status. That would be ideal but nearly impossible. How many times have you read the line "he was such a nice, quiet man" when reading about some horrible event such as a mass shooting? Checking their mental status (per records and neighbors at least) might reveal very little.

    Reference police carrying firearms - it is an unfortunate necessity. I would imagine that most police officers would gladly give them up if they could be sure that they would never encounter someone with a firearm and the intent to do harm.

    As to procedure. Anytime there is a shooting (especially resulting in death) there will be a detailed review of the facts.

  • peabody Steamboat Springs, CO
    Dec. 26, 2010 2:28 p.m.

    Simply a sad situation all the why around. The man had to be mentally ill, however the officer could not simply plead with the man as he is running away to stop and get mental health assistance. Sometimes an officer is required to act even if it meant that the person was shot to death.

  • Tim Rollins Oklahoma City, OK
    Dec. 26, 2010 1:19 p.m.

    Three things to remember here:

    1. If you bring a weapon to either a golf course, a sporting event, or even on temple grounds, some good citizen is going to call it in (to 911).

    2. If a cop tells someone to drop or otherwise release their weapon and they refuse to do so, they can expect to be shot. The cop does not care how many hours or months ago they were last on their medication.

    3. It's called Suicide by Cop for a reason. Our thoughts should be with the officer and his family, knowing that he was forced to take a human life on Christmas Day. The rest of us should be thankful this brave officer was doing his job.

    4. The Church wisely refrained from making comment in an ongoing case. That said, the Church retains its essential interest in protecting its assets from those who would do either the temple or church members harm from the presence of armed intruders on its properties.

  • John Paul Orem, UT
    Dec. 26, 2010 10:03 a.m.

    So if i understand right police always shoot to disarm first. Sadly the risk in that is that the person could die. Just like hunting a deer your most likley not going to kill it right away unless you hit it in the right spot, but there is always that chance.

  • WinSum Rexburg, ID
    Dec. 26, 2010 8:20 a.m.

    Let us see :
    1. Carrying a loaded weapon
    2. People feeling threatened
    3. Car loaded with weapons
    4. Police called to serve & protect
    5. Indicidual can't/won't follow instructions
    6. Consequences of his actions
    7. Thanks for Police...

  • sfcretdennis Nice, CA
    Dec. 26, 2010 7:55 a.m.

    worf | 5:23 p.m. Dec. 25, 2010 Mcallen, TX

    Perhaps police officers shouldnt carry firearm, what are you insane, if our police officers did not carry guns to protect them selfs, our us there would be more shootings and the police could do nothing because you have disarmed them. Its bad enough that gun hatters what to take our second amendment rights away and leaving us defenseless in our homes now you want us completely defenseless by taking guns away from the police. Take Guns away and only the criminals will have them. Its a proven fact take guns away and violent crime sky rockets. I know there are thus who refuses to believe statistics, such as my 25 year old Daughter but there it is.

  • Joe Bauman Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 26, 2010 1:35 a.m.

    Thank you for the clarification. This version is much better.

  • idablu Idaho Falls, ID
    Dec. 26, 2010 1:06 a.m.

    @Joe Bauman:
    I don't know what article you are talking about but it isn't the same article for which you are posting your comments. According to this article the gunman was clearly brandishing a shotgun and refused to relinquish it:

    "However, when police arrived, the man failed to comply with their orders to stop and drop the gun and instead ran from police while still holding the shotgun."

    Sorry, no coverup or conspiracy there.

    "The officer should have should have checked into his rights before shooting. . . . . . Perhaps police officers should'nt carry firearms."

    Wow. You're joking, right? You are obviously oblivious to the dangerous situations and kooks that policeman have to deal with on a regular basis. Your mentality is beyond response.

  • JohnJacobJingleHeimerSchmidt Beverly Hills, CA
    Dec. 26, 2010 12:43 a.m.

    Checked into the gunman's right? What, his right to shoot innocent bystanders first? He was a threat and the officer did his duty and all the officers and innocent bystanders will be safe and sound with their families tonight.

  • TJ Eagle Mountain, UT
    Dec. 25, 2010 9:53 p.m.

    Those arguing that the police did not do the right thing and question their judgement in situations like this are truly some of the least intelligent people posting articles involving police shootings. Think about it people. If I had a gun in a public place and the police ordered me to stop and put the weapon down; and I ran, I would expect to be shot. How many times have we seen people, insane or not (it doesn't really matter does it), go on a shooting spree and kill innocent people. People are always saying things like "we should have recognized the signs" before it came to this. Only criminals or those with criminal tendencies can question the rightness of a police officer shooting someone running away from them with a gun and not stopping when ordered.
    Get real!

  • bilbo Mayer, AZ
    Dec. 25, 2010 9:38 p.m.

    from Fox News site:

    "...The man had been in an altercation with another man in the parking lot outside the Oquirrh Mountain Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in South Jordan, Fox13 said.

    The confrontation began about 12:30 p.m. Police arrived shortly afterward and repeatedly ordered the shotgun-toting man to drop the weapon, South Jordan police Lt. Dan Starks said.

    When he refused, one officer opened fire, Starks said."

  • Joe Bauman Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 25, 2010 9:26 p.m.

    The article did NOT state that the man who was killed was carrying a shotgun at the time. Instead, it says, "At least one person noticed or spoke with the man with the gun .... " That implies the police didn't see him with a gun; otherwise, why mention that "at least one person" supposedly saw the weapon? Why not report that after someone reported him, police arrived and saw he was armed? This absolutely must be clarified. Was he or wasn't he armed during the confrontation?

  • Sytra99 Cedar Hills, UT
    Dec. 25, 2010 9:04 p.m.

    So tragic. My prayers go out to the family of the deceased, as well as the officer who was forced to make that decision on Christmas and his family as well.

  • Bluto Sandy, UT
    Dec. 25, 2010 9:02 p.m.

    And if this man had gone on a shooting rampage in the adjacent neighborhood and taken hostages etc.?

    Then What? Mr.KnowItAlls?

    Looks like Suicide by Cop to me. I challenge anyone in America, in any jurisdiction, to pull the same stunt, you'll meet the same fate.

    He knew the protocol.

    It's time to put Political Correctness.

    Very sad indeed, but a situation of his own making,Sorry.

  • thunderbolt007 Dutch John, UT
    Dec. 25, 2010 9:01 p.m.

    Can't someone invent a way of diasbling someone from a distance? A Taser?

  • USAlover Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 25, 2010 8:42 p.m.

    Disaster averted. Well done officers.

    Note to Public: If you walk in public with a shotgun, you probably will get shot by local police.

    What's going on in society today? Crazy...

  • DN Subscriber Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Dec. 25, 2010 8:22 p.m.

    Thank you cops for making the tough choices, and doing what needed to be done.

    We will learn more details as the investigation plays out, but may never know the dead man's motivation.

    Way too many cases of "suicide by cop" out there, which achieve the "victim's" goal, but at a horrible price for the officers involved.

  • Arynen Midvale, UT
    Dec. 25, 2010 7:54 p.m.

    I wouldn't say that the fact that someone has a gun on their person is reason to shoot. The fact that he has a gun, was probably intimidating temple visitors by brandishing it, failed to cooperate with police, and ran is reason to shoot. The suspect was just asking for trouble by acting like that. The police did the right thing. Take care of the problem before it turns into another Trolley Square.

    As to the other side of the argument that the police should have checked on their rights... Are you insane? I'm sorry, but you just don't have the luxury of time or political correctness to ask the guy whether or not you have the right to shoot him. How many innocent people have to be shot at, or even killed, before you make that decision to take down the suspect? The police did the absolute right thing in this case by making that call at 0 and I'm grateful they took action before the suspect did.

  • K Mchenry, IL
    Dec. 25, 2010 6:52 p.m.

    The guy's car was loaded with weapons and the one on his person was clear reason to shoot.

  • Making Sense Herriman, UT
    Dec. 25, 2010 6:45 p.m.

    To Wer:

    It appears the man WAS ON the Temple grounds. The fence that appears in the photo is around the Temple proper. The grounds are quite large (11 acres) while the immediate area around the Temple is fenced in similarly to Temple Square.

    Too bad that this occurred but especially sad on Christmas Day!!

  • bilbo Mayer, AZ
    Dec. 25, 2010 6:38 p.m.

    this shot gun wielder had a confrontation with another man in the parking lot of the temple.
    when police were called they called for th gun toter to relinquish his weapon. after repeated calls, with the armed man heading towards the crowd, the police fired and killed the shotgun man.
    this man was threatening at least one other person.
    do you REALLY expect the police to administer a MMPPI test before controlling the situation?

  • maidenwings westvalley, Utah
    Dec. 25, 2010 6:13 p.m.

    Over reacting Officer????
    that could have been deadly if he would have been out a crime to kill others!
    Yet the officer could have Only Wound this man not kill him.
    Yes we all Dont Know the Whole Story Do we?
    Let them Get the Story all placed in the tragic story.

    Before we all jump in to say things not right.
    Good thing some other person seen him with that ShotGun!

  • 3grandslams Iowa City, IA
    Dec. 25, 2010 6:13 p.m.


    pre-judging? Not to hard, let's see, man walking around with a shotgun in a public place, police ask him to put down weapon, man refuses and runs away...public is now in jeopardy...who would in their right mind think, "Oh, the man with a loaded shotgun is now running towards a crowd of people after we asked him to stop and drop his weapon. Oh, he's is probably looking for a nice person to give his gun too, someone he trusts who will take care of it."

    Your going after the reporter under those circumstances?

  • BobP Port Alice, B.C.
    Dec. 25, 2010 6:07 p.m.

    An insane person with a gun is more dangerous than a sane person.

    That said, the police are often just a little to quick to shoot.

  • tiapan Mesa, Az
    Dec. 25, 2010 6:03 p.m.

    Worf......The officers acted in the best interests of those present. Remember their motto...protect and serve they were doing just that. I don't think that officers have time to find out whether he was hugged enough by his mom or dad or if he had taken his medication that day. They have to act

  • Cats Somewhere in Time, UT
    Dec. 25, 2010 5:58 p.m.

    The journalist obviously learned that the police feared for the lives of the public by hearing that from the police. How else could that be known? The motivations of the man with the gun may never be known. It is certainly understandable why police would feel they needed to fire when the man didn't comply and was running away holding a gun with innocent bystanders nearby.

    There will be an investigation and we'll find out as much as possible at that time.

    All the same, it's a really sad tale. For someone to be killed at the Temple on Christmas is really tragic. I feel sorry for him and his family.

  • K Mchenry, IL
    Dec. 25, 2010 5:50 p.m.

    Why aren't Temples open on Christmas.

    In this case meant less people in the area and that is good in situations like this.

  • Okaythen Kearns, UT
    Dec. 25, 2010 5:43 p.m.

    The reporter seems to be prejudging what happened, or simply accepting as fact the police version of events (stating that the officers were "fearing for the crowd" when they fired). That may be true, but the reporter should add "according to police," and we should wait until an investigation before opining as to whether the shooting was necessary.

  • maidenwings westvalley, Utah
    Dec. 25, 2010 5:42 p.m.

    Why are some of us are so differnt.
    Good thing hes been caught soon enough!
    Would have been a lot of innocent LDS killed or really badly hurt.
    If this crazed man started using that weapon!!!

    Good to know were being protected by a Community watch to take care of the area.

    Thank you to those Officers of West&South Jordan~

  • BYR Woods Cross, UT
    Dec. 25, 2010 5:41 p.m.

    @ Worf: that is why all officers are placed on admin leave when their weapons are used. In any case, police should always carry weapons.

    @wer: not sure. It doesn't look like it but he may have been on the grounds at one time. It really doesn't matter.

    I trust an investigation will take place. We really do not know much of the 'why', only a little of the 'what'. Patience is called for.

  • worf Mcallen, TX
    Dec. 25, 2010 5:23 p.m.

    The officer should have should have checked into his rights before shooting. Maybe he was insane or had some other mental problem and did'nt know what he was doing. Perhaps police officers should'nt carry firearms. Were regulations and procedures followed?

  • Samuel Adams Layton, UT
    Dec. 25, 2010 5:09 p.m.

    The police are frequently called upon to make tough choices with little time to react. I salute the officers for protecting the crowd and doing their job. Some may "armchair quarterback" this in the days to come with the luxury of hindsight, much more information, and no accountability for such opinions. My feeling is just to say "Thank You" to the men on the "thin blue line". I'm glad that only one person lost their life. Sad that such things must happen to protect us.

  • wer South Jordan, UT
    Dec. 25, 2010 4:56 p.m.

    Was the man on temple grounds?From the photo, it appears not so.