District legal professional says West Jordan officer justified in killing a 17-year-old

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District attorney says West Jordan officer justified in killing a 17-year-old

The boy had just shot another policeman before Officer Gage Hoogveldt returned fire.

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Salt Lake District Attorney Sim Gill speaks during a press conference on Friday, August 21, 2020.

The Salt Lake County District Attorney has ruled that a West Jordan police officer was authorized to shoot and kill a teenage boy who had just shot another officer.

West Bank officer Gage Hoogveldt killed 17-year-old Cyrus Carpenter on August 2 in a shootout that quickly escalated after an investigation into stolen vehicles.

The dash cam video shown at the Salt Lake County Attorney’s Office on Friday shows Hoogveldt and another officer, Taylor Jackson, approach the truck that was parked in a neighborhood near 2400 West and 7700 South.

The officers tried to persuade the three teenagers in the truck to get out, but refused.

“Come on, get out,” Jackson said to Carpenter, who was in the driver’s seat. “Keep your hands where I can see them. Open the door.”

When Hoogveldt began patting one of the teenagers who got out of the truck on the passenger side, the body camera showed Carpenter quickly pulling out a small black gun and firing at Jackson, who had been standing just a few feet away. The bullet brushed the officer’s chin and lodged in his shoulder.

Hoogveldt then went to the front of the truck, and Carpenter continued firing at both officers. Hoogveldt returned fire and Carpenter stumbled out of the truck and tried to run away.

When Hoogveldt reloaded his weapon, Carpenter shot him again.

The officer later reminded investigators that he was thinking of the neighbors in the area and a man nearby on the sidewalk who had asked for help after finding a lost dog. He felt like he had to keep shooting to protect her.

“He said to himself, ‘I have to shoot this guy or he’ll hit me,'” the district attorney’s decision said.

Hoogveldt kept shooting until he could no longer see Carpenter, who was found dead in a nearby yard.

In total, Hoogveldt shot 23 shots at Carpenter. The teenager was beaten seven times in the back, buttocks, neck, arm and hand, according to prosecutors.

Jackson survived the shootout while Hoogveldt was never hit.

District Attorney Sim Gill said Friday that the two officers gave interviews to investigators without first viewing their own dash camera footage. He applauded this transparency – which is not always the case as police officers are not required to cooperate in reviewing his office.

“Officer Hoogveldt’s statement for his decision to use lethal force against Mr. Carpenter reflects his willingness to be accountable to the community he serves when circumstances require him to take the life of a member of the community “said Gill. “He honors his department, his colleagues, his profession and himself by explaining his decision to use lethal force.”

30 police officers have been shot dead in Utah so far this year, a number that joins the 2018 record for most Utah police shootings in recent years.

While 2020 has set the record for most police shootings in more than a decade, it is the second deadliest with 17 fatal shootings. In 2018, police shot dead 19 people, according to a Salt Lake Tribune database of police shootings.