This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
West Jordan • Newly released body camera video shows a West Jordan police officer shooting a man who was grabbing a fake gun made of a bent piece of metal with taped-on laser pointer.
"We cannot wait until somebody actually shoots us," said West Jordan Police Chief Doug Diamond during a Friday news conference. "By then it's too late."
Internal affairs investigators last week cleared Officer Ian Adams of any policy violations in the July 10 shooting of 32-year-old Timothy James Peterson.
Peterson had posted threats against police on Facebook on July 7, the day after his ex-wife called officers to report Peterson had gone to her house late at night to "give her a hug" despite a protective order forbidding contact.
"... I'm going to shoot the cops if they come honest truth ill pay for a lie detector test right now i swear to god i will," Peterson wrote. He makes references to being "shot by the cops" and being "dead and gone."
A tipster alerted police to the threats, and Peterson's photo was circulated among the officers with the warning, "Threatened to kill cops."
After an officer recalled talking to Peterson at the Jordan Landing shopping complex, Adams suggested police "saturate" the area to look for Peterson.
On July 10, Adams was patrolling at Jordan Landing when he saw two men walking and thought one of them looked like Peterson.
When Adams stopped, Peterson ran.
Adams chased Peterson, who turned and began to draw what Adams described as a handgun. Diamond played Adams' body camera video frame by frame and pointed out images of Peterson that investigators say show him twisting at the waist and grasping at something in front of him.
The object "flashed silver, red then silver and red again," Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill wrote in a report last month that deemed the shooting justified.
When Peterson raised his hand and pointed the object at Adams, the officer fired his weapon until Peterson went to the ground, Gill wrote. Adams had fired 10 shots, hitting Peterson twice once in the leg and once in the buttocks.
Peterson was found to be carrying a metal bar that was bent in the shape of a handgun, which had a red laser taped to the "barrel," the report said.
When asked why Adams chased Peterson alone rather than calling for backup to deal with a subject known to have threatened police, department spokesman Dan Roberts said things happened too quickly.
"[Adams] is worried about being shot. He's worrying about everything else. He doesn't have time to call out," Roberts said.
After the shooting, Adams was "shaken up," Diamond said.
"When you're in a life-threatening situation, when you believe your life is on the line, it's a critical, critical time, and it messes with your mind a bit," Diamond said.
Adams resumed active duty July 28 after being cleared by a psychologist, Diamond said.
Peterson was charged in 3rd District Court with second-degree felony assault against a police officer, and misdemeanor counts of unlawful possession of a dangerous weapon and failure to stop at the command of law enforcement. A preliminary hearing in the case is set for Oct. 20.