‘I’ve been shot guys’: Salt Lake City police release video of officer fatally shooting a mentally ill man and injuring another officer

USA Utah News

Almost immediately after officers knocked on the door to room No. 408, it swung open hard and fast.

A man inside pushed his arms out first, waving a gun in circles. One woman saw the weapon and ducked down the hallway to get away. An officer started firing.

“He’s been hit,” one officer says and he kicks the weapon — which was later determined to be a paintball gun. Another officer, who had been standing on the other side of the door, holds his shoulder while he curses. “I’ve been shot guys,” he shouts. “I’ve been hit.”

It’s over in about five seconds.

The Salt Lake City police department showed that body camera footage during a Friday news conference. Three officers were there at the July 15 confrontation at Sunrise Metro apartments, 580 S. 500 West, and all recorded it.

The videos are the first look at how police responded to the subject, who they knew was mentally ill. He’s also the second person to be shot and killed by Salt Lake City police this year, said Capt. Ty Farillas.

Brand died from his injuries. The officer who was hit has since recovered, though both he and the officer who fired his gun are on paid administrative leave from the department while the case is investigated. Farillas said that will be handled by Unified Police.

The three officers had been called to the complex — which houses those who have been chronically homeless — to respond to a call from staff that a resident was “going off the rails and being kind of aggressive and threatening.” Employees there said Brand had schizoaffective disorder and needed to be handled calmly. Brand was arrested four times in 2018 on misdemeanor counts, such as disorderly conduct.

Staffers at the apartment were worried about him, and a social worker accompanied police to the fourth floor.

Police joked as they walked to Brand’s door that it’s “a room with a view.” Then, at 1:30 p.m., an officer knocked five times and stood on both sides of the door. All three of the videos released Friday show little interaction with Brand — other than shouting “Mike” and “Michael” — before the shots are fired. After, the officer who shot him scrambles to give him medical treatment.

He leans down and handcuffs an unresponsive Brand. Then, he asks, “Mike, are you OK, dude? I’m sorry. That was me, dude.”

The officer then says to the officer who he hit: “He had a gun pointed at your f—— head.”

Brand remains on the ground. He breathes a little, but his face quickly turns purple. He died at the scene.

The third officer, meanwhile, helps his injured colleague by applying a tourniquet to his arm. Those two walk down to the parking lot together, so the injured officer can be taken to a hospital.

Other responders arrive as the officer who fired is trying to handcuff a man who walked out of his apartment to see what happened.

“He f—— opened the door with a gun in our face,” the officer tells the other resident, who says he wasn’t involved. The officer responds that he knows that, but that he’s alone and needs to restrain him anyway. He can’t get the handcuffs to work, so he tells the resident to stay put while he grabs another pair.

“I don’t think there’s anything we could have done differently,” said Det. Greg Wilking, noting that one of the officers who was there specializes in responding to psychiatric suspects.

The department — which did not take questions Friday — reported that its officers have responded to 1,236 mental-health related calls so far this year. Last year, they handled 2,507, Farillas said.

“Most,” he added, “result in directing individuals to resources.”

At this same time last year, the department had one fatal officer-involved shooting. The department released the body-cam footage Friday after 10 days, per city policy.

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