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Provo • Newly-released surveillance video from three Saratoga Springs businesses shows brief snippets of the final moments of 22-year-old Darrien Hunt's life, before he was shot and killed by two police officers.
The videos, which were obtained Friday from the Utah County Attorney's Office, clearly show the Saratoga Springs man walking in front of a Top Stop convenience store with a samurai-style sword clutched in his left hand on Sept. 10. Once Hunt casually walked past the store door and out of the video's frame, a police officer comes into frame, walking quickly to catch up to Hunt.
However, none of the video surveillance captured the key moments when the two officers Cpl. Matt Schauerhamer and Officer Nicholas Judson struck up a conversation with Hunt, or when Hunt allegedly swung his sword at the officers and began running away.
From inside the convenience store, a woman who apparently watched the situation unfold can be heard on surveillance video telling patrons, "The cops are out there shooting a guy ... He drew a sword."
Utah County Attorney Jeff Buhman ruled earlier this week that the officers were justified in using deadly force on that day because they believed Hunt might harm or kill them or others.
. During a Monday press conference, he said that when Hunt swung the sword at the officers, they fired a total of three shots. Schauerhamer then chased Hunt toward another business and fired several more rounds.
Video surveillance from the nearby Panda Express shows Hunt sprinting past the business, with the two officers chasing him. It appears one officer fires a round toward the fleeing man.
Robert Sykes, the attorney for Hunt's mother and some family members, said Friday that the surveillance videos were "very alarming."
"I think it's very helpful," Sykes said of the videos. "It shows the peaceful nature of Darrien before this event took place, and non-threatening nature. And it shows him running for his life."
Sykes said the videos bolster the family's claim that the officers used excessive force that day. The attorney has said the family intends to file a civil lawsuit against Saratoga Springs.
According to Buhman's written findings, Hunt told Schaerhamer and Judson that he was looking for a ride to Orem.
Schauerhamer said he offered a ride but told Hunt he was not allowed to get into the patrol car with his sword. Members of Hunt's family have called the replica katana sword a "toy" used for cosplay, but Buhman said it had a sharp point and blade.
It was "not sharpened to 'professional' standards, but was not ... intentionally dulled," Buhman said.
After the officers told Hunt he could not take the sword into the car, Hunt, "abruptly, without provocation" swung the sword at the officers, Buhman said, pointing to statements by the officers and by two witnesses near the Top Stop.
"Both officers discharged their firearms to prevent their own death or serious bodily injury," he said. Investigators believe at least two of those first three shots wounded Hunt, who began to run away, still holding his sword.
Schauerhamer gave chase as Hunt approached a Panda Express restaurant. Schauerhamer said he worried Hunt would come around the corner and "hack the first person he saw," Buhman recounted.
"[Hunt] continued to carry in his hand an unsheathed samurai type sword, even after two officers shot at and likely wounded him" and ignored Schauerhamer's orders to drop it, Buhman said.
Buhman said seven shots were fired between the two officers; six bullets hit Hunt and one appeared to hit the grass near the Panda Express. Schauerhamer fired six shots, while Judson fired once.
Asked why Hunt became violent, Buhman said investigators did "some digging" but ultimately, they don't know.
"It's unlikely we will find out," he said.
Utah medical examiner Pamela Ulmer concluded that Hunt's cause of death was "multiple gunshots" with the direction of fire being "posterior to anterior," or from back to front.
Ulmer identified six gunshots in all, one penetrating Hunt's right back and lodging in his lung, while other bullets struck him in the right upper arm, right forearm, left upper arm, left elbow and left hip.
Ulmer also found no traces of illegal drugs in Hunt's blood. According to the search warrant affidavit, Hunt's family allegedly told investigators that Darrien Hunt had been making and using dimethyltryptamine, a hallucinogen also know as DMT, in the weeks before the fatal shooting.