A Grantsville man was killed Sunday night after a standoff with police who responded to his home for a welfare check.
According to dispatch records, officers responded to a possible suicide threat at a home near 50 E. Clark Street just before 8 p.m.
Officer Alison Peterson, public information officer with the Grantsville City Police Department, said a single officer initially responded, but called for backup once the man barricaded himself inside.
The standoff lasted for about an hour before Travis Davis, 37, came out of the house with a handgun and pointed it at officers, she said, and officers felt the need to use deadly force.
“He was upset with some things that were going on in his personal life and as officers we felt he was reaching out for some help, and we tried to help but our efforts were refused,” Peterson said. “I’m sure what was going on in his life had things to do with the decisions he made that night. It’s tragic for him, and for our department.”
Davis was hit by one shot fired by police. Grantsville City Police Chief Kevin Turner said a medical helicopter was initially paged for Davis, but was soon turned back after it became clear that Davis had died.
“The officers took appropriate action and the suspect was declared deceased at the scene,” said Turner.
The officers involved in the shooting have been placed on administrative leave, as per departmental policy, until an investigation into the incident has been completed, he said.
The police chief added the policy of placing officers involved in a shooting on administrative leave exists to allow an investigation to be completed, the family of the victim to be notified and to make sure the officer is all right.
“You want to make sure that they’re able to function normally, basically, make sure that they’re OK, and then you want to make sure that the family’s all contacted,” he said. “So just as a routine, the officer’s placed on administrative leave while the investigation starts, and then as long as the officer needs it as well.”
Turner added [the officers] will be off on administrative leave until the investigation is completed and it has been determined that “everything is lawful and good.”
The department confirms that multiple officers were involved, but declined to specify how many. Peterson said the length of the administrative leave for each officer will depend on that officer’s level of involvement in the incident. Peterson also did confirm that the three officers most closely involved with the incident were on administrative leave.
All involved were experienced, full-time officers from the Grantsville City Police Department, she said. No one else was in the residence at the time of the shooting to the knowledge of police, she said, and no one else was injured. Peterson said the exact number of shots fired will be determined in the ensuing investigation.
Detectives from Tooele City Police will head the investigation into the incident, though Turner said two officers from Grantsville City Police will conduct an investigation of their own alongside Tooele’s.
Capt. Paul Wimmer of Tooele City Police said his department’s investigation is to have a third-party perspective into the events that transpired.
“Our purpose is to paint a clear picture of what occurred here, send it up to the county attorney for review, and they will determine if the shooting was justified or not,” he said. “We’re finders of fact today.”
Tooele County Attorney Doug Hogan said this type of case typically takes one to three weeks to review, depending on the case and the overall caseload of the office at the time.
According to court records, Davis was charged with and pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors in two separate cases that were related to domestic violence in 2004, for which he served five days in jail and completed probation. He has had no other serious criminal charges filed against him in Utah, according to records. However, on Wednesday a child support lien was filed against him for $7,470.
Sunday’s fatal shooting may be a first for local law enforcement in recent Tooele County history.
In April 2012, an officer from the Tooele City Police Department shot at a suicidal man. The shot missed the man, who eventually killed himself during the course of the 45-minute standoff. That shooting was declared justified by the Tooele County Attorney’s Office.
The Tooele County Sheriff’s Office had its last officer-involved shooting at least four years ago, when a deputy fired a shot at a suicidal man in a car who was making actions the deputy felt were threatening. The shot hit the car, but the man relinquished his weapon and the situation was resolved peacefully.
At deadline, searches through archives and interviews with current and past law enforcement officers and other sources did not reveal another fatal officer-involved shooting in the county.