Neighbors of shot gunman at Mormon temple say he was friendly

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  • radically_independent Orem, Utah
    Dec. 31, 2010 7:54 a.m.

    Unfortunately when you bring a gun to the dance, you had better be ready to use it. That is why anytime you bring a gun into a situation, you have to expect that the other side will use the same in kind. It is why a friend of mine who is in law enforcement discourages home owners from quickly stepping up to pulling a gun, even if they are right, into a situation. It has to be a well thought out decision to escalate to the deadly force.

    Unfortunately it looks like this chap was not in his right mind, and took that step, bringing guns and deadly force into this situation. He forced the situation where the office had to decide if he or she is willing to risk being able to return back to their family that night, or try to bring the situation to an end. If the situation was containable, sure they can wait the other person out and hopefully calmer heads prevail. But once you bring a gun into the situation, you have to expect that this outcome is at least probably or likely.

    A real shame for all involved.

  • Rifleman Salt Lake City, Utah
    Dec. 29, 2010 11:56 a.m.

    No, Opinionated, this does not have "lawsuit written all over it". The police have every right to protect citizens from gunmen running around on private property with shotguns.

    It's too bad someone didn't shoot the Trolley Square gunman before he had the chance to kill and injure innocent people.

    If you're running around with a gun on private property and the police issue a command for you to drop your weapon the responsibility for your decision to obey or disobey rests on solely on your shoulders.

  • sisucas San Bernardino, CA
    Dec. 28, 2010 10:15 p.m.

    This is a sad story. The man probably had a psychotic break and wasn't in his right mind. Running around talking about a bird attack makes me think he was definitely expeiriencing some psychosis. Unfortunately we'll never know if he wanted to hurt people or if he was just really convinced and frightened of a bird attack and was taking steps to prevent it. I think the police did what they had to do, but there should be no joy in this outcome for anyone.

  • Lake Effect Springville, UT
    Dec. 28, 2010 7:52 a.m.

    Why can't the police use rubber bullets in such cases?

  • Janadele¬© Sydney, NSW
    Dec. 27, 2010 8:10 p.m.

    I attended a Temple open day there, and remember the surrounding high density cluster residential area, certainly high risk and the officer would be in no doubt of the danger presented. Sad, but a split second decision and judgement had to be made.

  • bobosmom Norfolk, Nebraska
    Dec. 27, 2010 4:01 p.m.

    So sad this had to happen. I think most police would not shoot unless they felt danger. It is a decision that is made in a split second on both parties. With the party making the decision not to follow the order it didn't give the police much choice.

  • SyracuseCoug Syracuse, ut
    Dec. 27, 2010 3:56 p.m.

    There's a new article out with more details, obviously this man was very dangerous and YES, witnesses have stated that they were in fear of their safety as he was pointing his weapon at them.

  • Rifleman Salt Lake City, Utah
    Dec. 27, 2010 3:19 p.m.

    People like Tom Smith who are first in line to criticize peace officers are also typically the first to call for their help when the smelly stuff hits the fan. When a gunman refuses to obey a lawful command issued by a peace officer to drop a weapon the responsibility for what follows rests on his head only.

    And no, there is not one single peace officer on the face of this earth that would even think of using a taser against on a man hold a shotgun. People who suggest that a taser is an appropriate response are living in some kind of clouded fantasy land.

  • Utes21 Salt Lake City, ut
    Dec. 27, 2010 3:09 p.m.

    What do you suggest my friend? I mean your quick to point out what you think is wrong about what happened but offer no suggestions? What do you consider a threat is my question to you? I mean a guy with a loaded shotgun refusing to drop his weapon running from police in the direction of innocent bystanders isnt committing crimes until he kills a couple people right? But whatever lets blame the cop for not using a taser against a pump action shot gun or maybe thats to much for you he should of got real close and got him in the eyes with some mace.

  • bigsoccer Syracuse, UT
    Dec. 27, 2010 2:34 p.m.

    I think the police were in the right to shoot, when you don't lay down a deadly weapon and then run, who is really going to chase him to find out?

  • A Guy With A Brain Enid, OK
    Dec. 27, 2010 2:07 p.m.

    Somebody above said the police should have tasered him.

    Really? A taser against a shotgun????

    No offense, but do you still believe in the tooth fairy?

  • Opinionated Sandy, UT
    Dec. 27, 2010 1:22 p.m.

    This has lawsuit written all over it.
    The man was running AWAY for heaven's sake, as in shot from behind.
    Police officers chase people every day that may hurt themselves or the officer. This is not a new experience for officers.
    The man had plenty of opportunity to do harm yet he hadn't.
    Police DON'T fire warning shots. This is not SOP.

  • Liberal Ted Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 27, 2010 12:22 p.m.

    Fitz said "So what terrible crime did this man commit? He carried a loaded firearm on private property which is called trespssing and failed to obey an officer's command. So tresspassing and fleeing deserve being shot and killed? A pretty harsh penalty for two misdemeanors."

    Again the article doesn't release everything that took place. We do know he was in an altercation with another individual. We know people felt threaten enough to call 911 (why would they call 911 if they didn't feel threaten?), his neighbors report that he was talking to himself staring at his car, we know he refused to follow police instruction in laying down his weapon or stop moving around, we know he was shot.

    Remember when people speculated that Ed Smart kidnapped his own daughter? They were dead wrong on that. Give it some time before you accuse the officer. What happened to innoncent until proven guilty? Wait for the evidence to come out.

    My guess (again I'm not an expert) it's the holidays, the guy is religious, he used suicide by cop. Suicide goes up around holidays. I could be wrong just a guess.

  • Goet Ogden, UT
    Dec. 27, 2010 12:10 p.m.

    As MapleDon said, and I agree:

    1) Cops are held to the exact same standard as non-police. They are citizens, too. They don't have the right to shoot anyone, armed or not, unless they deem a direct threat to themselves. Nowhere does the article talk about the man threatening anyone. In fact, short of "disturbing the peace"-the general catch-all for anything the cops don't like, what he was doing was legal.

    2) Shooting an armed man who IS RUNNING AWAY and has not directly threatened you or anyone else is, at best, manslaughter.

    3) I guarantee that if I or YOU had done the same, we'd be in lockup facing manslaughter or murder charges.

    4) I also guarantee you that that D.A.'s office will give this officer a clean bill of health.

  • Devin American Fork, UT
    Dec. 27, 2010 12:06 p.m.

    Here's a simple formula for you in case your too dumb to get this story.

    You carry shotgun around in public + you run from a cop when ordered to put down your shotgun = you. will. be. shot. end of story.

  • bilbo Mayer, AZ
    Dec. 27, 2010 11:52 a.m.

    all the man had to do was throw down the shotgun and THEN run.

  • Fitz Murray, UT
    Dec. 27, 2010 11:33 a.m.

    The conclusions put forth in these comment sections never ceases to amaze me. The news story has very little detail or fact in it and yet the victim here is catagorized as less than "normal sanity". A "confrontation" with another guest is referenced with no details as to whether or not it is real. The police are still investigating, and the DA will probably clear the cop. But we have no facts as to why the victim did what he did and probably never will. It is not illegal in Utah to carry a pistol, rifle or shotgun in public (we do not even know yet if it was loaded). Nor is it illegal to carry loaded fire arms or swords in your vehicle. So what terrible crime did this man commit? He carried a loaded firearm on private property which is called trespssing and failed to obey an officer's command. So tresspassing and fleeing deserve being shot and killed? A pretty harsh penalty for two misdemeanors.

  • Mc West Jordan, UT
    Dec. 27, 2010 11:22 a.m.


    You criticize others for being supportive of police and imply that they would support a police state.

    Your willingness to jump to the conclusion that the police were in the wrong with little information to go on says something about you as well. Shall we conclude that you are really a criminal because of your deep distrust of police?

    That makes about as much sense as your implication that those who are supportive of the police in this case wouldn't object to a police state. Big jump there.

  • Mc West Jordan, UT
    Dec. 27, 2010 11:12 a.m.

    MapleDon: "several facts presented concern me"

    The newspaper story really doesn't present facts. It doesn't tell us enough to draw the conclusion you made that the man didn't point the weapon at anyone or that he didn't threaten anyone.

    From the pictures you can tell that the man was on the sidewalk between the police and the fence around the temple. He could only run east toward the front of the temple where people were looking at the temple and the view or west toward the back of the temple. We do not know which way he ran from this story. We do not have enough information to conclude that he was not a threat to anyone.

    I think that those who were actually there are in a better position to determine the threat that this man posed to others than those of us who are only reading a newspaper report that is very lacking in details.

  • EgbertThrockmorton Layton, UT
    Dec. 27, 2010 11:08 a.m.

    One does NOT use a Taser to end a threat of deadly weapons/force. There is NOT a police agency anywhere in the United States that would be that stupid or foolish. Nor is it policy in any agency nationally on the Federal, State or local levels.
    From the many comments here and elsewhere, it sees that the posters would foolishly prefer the gunman to have opened fire on temple grounds, wound or murder many innocents, before the police "shot him down". This kind of rhetoric usually reflects a "past" on the negative side with law enforcement, usually from being a "frequent flier" or "well known" to law enforcement for one's own lack of character and integrity. Not defending the SJPD at all, let's let the FACTS come out before we verbally flatulate hysterical effluvium.

  • Utes21 Salt Lake City, ut
    Dec. 27, 2010 11:03 a.m.

    I agree with liberal ted the only logical answer would be the guy was wanting to end his life. Again police gave him fair warning you dont run from police very common sense. Police are trained to shoot at the chest area he was a threat for not standing down. No police officer would ever dream of killing another human being unless they were forced to do so. I feel bad for the officer along with the gunmens family but trying to call out the police on this when they were doing there job is pathetic. Like was said before its easy to tell someone how to do their job from the sideline or from the comfort of being behind a computer screen.

  • JohnJacobJingleHeimerSchmidt Beverly Hills, CA
    Dec. 27, 2010 11:02 a.m.

    I am grateful that the headline is "Police Shoot Gunman at Temple" instead of
    "12 Killed, 6 wounded in Christmas Day Massacre by Gunman at Temple"

    Can someone give me ONE good reason or "innocent" reason to show up at an LDS Temple with a shotgun? He certainly wasn't there to paint Easter eggs or bake pastries.

  • USAlover Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 27, 2010 11:01 a.m.

    Funny how people criticize the cops for taking down an armed, confrontational person walking around mid-day on private property.

    I doubt those people would have volunteered to lay this individual down on the couch to psycho-analyze his intentions, fears and what went wrong in his childhood.

    Thanks to the cops for averting a disaster. They are public heroes and I wish the officer well during his administrative leave. Hope to see him back in uniform with Kuddos from a grateful citizenry.

  • ouisc Farmington, UT
    Dec. 27, 2010 11:00 a.m.

    Is there ever a justification or good intention for a person running away from the police, defying their instructions, while carrying a weapon designed to kill?

  • JohnJacobJingleHeimerSchmidt Beverly Hills, CA
    Dec. 27, 2010 10:36 a.m.

    People need to stop with the Taser talk, tasers are not 100% reliable in neutralizing a gunman. If the gunman wanted to live, he would have dropped the gun. Tasers are not accurate nor can they shoot as far.

    If I have to choose between a dead gunman threatening civilians or a cop going home to his family on Christmas, I am choosing the cop.

    Stop blaming the cops, the gunman made his decision to menacingly go threaten public safety with a gun. If he had chosen to stay home and watch football he would still be alive.

    You don't show up at a site of one of the holiest site of worship for the LDS Church with a shotgun to make friends and influence people.

  • ValiantDefender Herriman, UT
    Dec. 27, 2010 10:31 a.m.

    It is sad, first and foremost, that someone died. However, there was only one alternative that could have ended better...that he had surrendered.

    If the police had tazed the individual holding a firearm, it would cause all this muscles to think about the fact that he is holding a weapon. I'll wait patiently to let that sink in.

    If he had been tazed and the victim's gun had gone off - and no one got hurt - the officer would STILL come under scrutiny for causing (via tazing) of the weapon. Heaven forbid that the accidental discharge killed someone.

  • Liberal Ted Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 27, 2010 10:30 a.m.

    It's only a guess and speculation, but, that's the way it's looking to my unexpert opinion and based on little evidence. True he could have shot the first guy that confronted him but didn't, he could have attacked several people walking around, but didn't. He could have shot at the officers, but, from the reading he didn't. So based on that, he probably was somewhat religious and wanted to die on temple grounds with someone else doing the shooting.

    I feel bad for everyone involved. Especially the officer. No police officer wants to be put in that situation.

  • Liberal Ted Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 27, 2010 10:29 a.m.

    I volunteer Sniggy to walk up to the next gunman and use a tazer on him/her. Let's see what happens. Obviously it's the one answer solution to everything.

    Let's not blame the guy who was carrying a shot gun, running from police, and refusing to lay down his weapon. It's not like he was at the shooting range or in the mountains hunting.

    Next time the police should evacuate the people, invite Sniggy on down and let him tazer the next guy. Because he insists it's that easy.

    My guess is, the guy wanted to commit suicide. And couldn't get himself to do it, and figured if he carried the gun around then he could force an officer to do it for him.

  • JohnJacobJingleHeimerSchmidt Beverly Hills, CA
    Dec. 27, 2010 10:29 a.m.

    -----Tom Smith | 7:47 a.m. Dec. 27, 2010
    Sandy, UT
    This is very obviously another case where cops are simply too eager to be like their television peers. ------

    What? What do you want Tom, to let this gunman shoot a few people before the police are justified to protect the public?

    Have you been to the Temple Tom? It is surrounded by a residential neighborhood. Do those residents deserve to be shot or held hostage? Do children play in their front yards deserve to be shot, Tom? How about YOU stop watching TV and realize real people running around with guns shoot innocent people at random.

    The man a a threat to lives and while unfortunate, the police protected unarmed innocents by neutralizing the threat.

  • MapleDon Springville, UT
    Dec. 27, 2010 10:24 a.m.

    Several facts presented concern me, along with some of the comments praising police action.

    First, the man never pointed the weapon at anyone and, from the evidence so far presented, didn't actually threaten anyone either.

    Second, the police shot the man as he was running away. He was not threatening the police or any other person (or even himself) at the time they killed him.

    It was only after they killed him that they found additional weapons in the dead man's car. The fact that he had a sword and other guns didn't play into the police decision to kill him. Even so, the last time I checked, the possession of a sword or gun is not a criminal offense in this state, let alone making an individual worthy of being shot by police.

    Finally, it seems some of you are quite anxious to support the police any time they kill someone--as if they can do no wrong. I'm afraid some of you wouldn't object to a police state?

  • 1Observer Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Dec. 27, 2010 10:23 a.m.

    I am dumbfounded by the commenters who believe the police erred or were trigger happy in this situation. First of all, all you know is what the media is reporting. Who knows how accurate that is since they weren't there. Secondly, you weren't there either and could not assess the threat or the gunman's state of mind. Irrational or psychotic individuals very often become increasingly violent in such situations as their plight begins to seem more hopeless to them. The mere fact that this person did not surrender his weapon when ordered would indicate he was just working himself up and over the threshold to pull the trigger. You negate threat by using an equal or escalated amount of threat. Tasers would be out of the question since they do not always immediately incapacitate. The best persons to assess the threat and to neutralize it were the police officers on the scene. They very likely saved many innocent lives. They should be hailed as heroes.

  • SyracuseCoug Syracuse, ut
    Dec. 27, 2010 10:21 a.m.

    Re: Sniggy

    "Tazers work to take down an individual.?"

    Uh, yes, but they are used for a less-than-lethal option, meaning a guy tries to fight an officer or resists arrest. A deranged man carrying around a shotgun is considered deadly force and the officers have a right to protect their own lives and the safety of the public by matching deadly force with deadly force. Besides, tazers aren't guranteed to always work, a prong could come out, thick clothing, or you could simply miss. If you want to walk up to about 10-15 ft from a guy carrying a shotgun, just so you can try and use your tazer is inviting a closed casket funeral for yourself. Put yourself in the officer's shoes.

    I'm sorry that this man life took him down this road, it's sad, but it's no excuse to wave around a shotgun in public pointing it at people. I'm just thankful that this didn't turn out worse, it could have been a nightmare.

  • Liberal Ted Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 27, 2010 10:21 a.m.

    Perhaps Tom & Sniggy would like to volunteer and approach people that are agitated and carrying firearms.

    Obviously the guy was a threat. He refused to follow orders from a police officer to lay down his weapon. I guess (using the logic of Tom & Sniggy) the police should wait until the man has slaughtered a few people before they react to it. Then Tom & Sniggy would be upset that the police didn't do anything.

    Easy to tell other people how to do their job from the sidelines.

  • DN Subscriber Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Dec. 27, 2010 10:04 a.m.

    Sure sounds like "suicide by cop" to me.

    However, we will have to wait and see what the investigation turns up, although the intentions of the dead man may never be known.

  • Anne26 West Jordan, UT
    Dec. 27, 2010 9:37 a.m.

    Those criticizing the police completely baffle me. I would think that after tragedies like the one we had at Trolley Square a few years ago, that we would all be grateful only the gunman was killed in this situation. The police simply did what they had to do.

  • SyracuseCoug Syracuse, ut
    Dec. 27, 2010 9:35 a.m.

    Good job to this officer and for those who are being critical, would you prefer the alternative? In other words, dead bodies of families and/or children? What if the police did nothing after the guy ran off and he ended up killing someone? You're right, the police should wait for him to kill some poor family before they act....give me a break.

    These killing sprees need to come to an end, I am so sick of reading about how someone walks into a public area and starts firing. The police have a job to PROTECT the public and their own lives, better a deranged gunman carrying a shotgun on Temple grounds die than a family or an officer. A car full of ammo and other weapons isn't a cry for help, this guy obviously had intentions of harming others, but he probably couldn't follow through with it.....thank goodness. Good job South Jordan PD, keep up the good work.

  • sniggy Payson, UT
    Dec. 27, 2010 9:27 a.m.

    Warning shots don't kill. Growing up is on both sides of the situation. Tazers work to take down an individual.?

  • Utes21 Salt Lake City, ut
    Dec. 27, 2010 9:26 a.m.

    We dont know what his intetions were..? What do you think he wanted to do show everyone his his brand new shotgun he got for christmas? Look comment boards you are free to state your opinion but when it comes to a crazy mad gunmen walking around your neighborhood better pray that the police respond quickly and act quickly. What would have happened if police would have been tipped off sooner about the idiot kid who rampaged through Trolley Square. Many lives would have been saved instead of family lives being devastated by one teen who was mad at the world. Our local police do there best to protect the public, this man was given fair warning to drop his gun and surrender but he chose to risk his life and and run from officers. Its sad that one bullet ended his life but how many bullets could he have shot and ended many innocent lives.

  • Resident Spanish Fork, UT
    Dec. 27, 2010 8:45 a.m.

    I'm glad they did what they did. The man who ran was the stupid one in this case. All he had to do was obey the police. To consider an officer trigger happy for shooting a warning shot is crazy. Would you rather they just chase after him and risk being shot and killed like the officer in Southern Utah earlier this year? Would you prefer they just let him run where families (kids) were enjoying the day? Some people need to grow up and quit blaming officers for a criminals bad actions.

  • wazzup Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Dec. 27, 2010 8:41 a.m.

    The one question in my mind is that if the gunman really wanted to hurt someone, he would have shot the guy he had an altercation with. It appears he was not in control of his faculties but didn't intent to hurt anyone considering he didn't shoot the one person he did contact.

  • Utes21 Salt Lake City, ut
    Dec. 27, 2010 8:25 a.m.

    Kind of hard when a guy is carrying around a shotgun in a public place, around people, was given a warning to put down his weapon, and took off running from police officers for them to not take action. I feel bad for the mans family and for the officers but their job is to protect others from a man who should have obeyed there command. I am sure the officer was not wanting to kill anyone just wound him. It was only one shot he was not trigger happy my friend.

  • sniggy Payson, UT
    Dec. 27, 2010 8:13 a.m.

    I'm with Tom Smith on this one.

    Shoot and then figure it out later seems to be the norm here in Utah.

  • Tom Smith Sandy, UT
    Dec. 27, 2010 7:47 a.m.

    This is very obviously another case where cops are simply too eager to be like their television peers. Utah Cops are much too trigger happy. They have nearly averaged one killing a week this year.

  • patriotandmore Spanish Fork, UT
    Dec. 27, 2010 6:04 a.m.

    "After the shooting, officers inspected the mans vehicle and found guns, swords and ammunition." This man was carrying a gun around private property (The Temple was closed) and his van contained additional firearms and ammo. Too bad he didn't put the gun down and raise his hands as ordered. Good thing he didn't prove his intentions were to hurt or kill anyone. Nobody in their right mind is going to parade around private property that is out of operation at 12:30 PM with a firearm.
    Cops 1, bad guy 0. Good work.