Posted by Travis Uresk | Aug 9th, 2022 | Ute Tribe Shooting | Update Aug. 13th 2022 |
By: Brian Schnee
Aug 09, 2022
DUCHESNE COUNTY, Utah — A shooting by an officer last month on tribal lands in Duchesne County resulted in serious injuries to two people.
On July 17, a Ute Tribe Fish and Wildlife officer shot a man and a woman who were on a UTV. It’s unclear why the shots were fired or what exchange led up to that incident.
On Tuesday, FOX 13 News obtained body-worn camera video from a Duchesne County Sheriff’s deputy who responded to the incident, as well as a report filed by that responding deputy that indicates both victims were shot in the back.
In the footage, the man who was shot is lying on his side as a bystander administers first aid; the woman who was shot is sitting up on the ground as a female officer performs first aid.
As the deputy walks up, the female officer says, “Two individuals. One’s got a shoulder wound, one’s on the back of the chest.”
The deputy asks her where the weapons are, and she replies, saying, “No. They pulled away from me on a side-by-side after [unintelligible] me in and taking off. Turned around, came back down, that’s when he was shot and she was shot. They got out. Had them lay on the floor.”
“They were both shot by —,” the deputy asks, pointing at the female officer.
“Yes,” she replies.
The deputy then calls for a medical unit. When the deputy asks where the weapons are, the man who was shot replies, “There’s no weapons.”
“Try not to move, bud,” the male deputy tells the man, reassuring him that an ambulance will arrive soon.
“There is no weapons; she shot us,” one of the victims replied.
After the wounded man is put into an ambulance, another officer asks the deputy what happened. The deputy then turns off his body camera.
In the deputy’s report on the shooting, which also was obtained through a public records request, he writes that the female officer “was shot along with two suspects.” However, according to an FBI statement released shortly after the shooting, the tribal officer was not injured.
“After medical [personnel] cleared the scene and transported the individual to the hospital, I told the officer I was not going to ask her about the incident but wanted to know if she was OK,” the deputy wrote in the report. “Officer said she was OK, a little shaken.”
The report also states that another officer and his dog searched the scene for weapons and didn’t find any. A possible bullet slug was found in the passenger seat of the UTV, according to the records.
The man and the woman were taken to hospitals. On Thursday, a spokesperson for the FBI said they didn’t have current information regarding their conditions.
The FBI spokesperson also didn’t provide further information regarding the shooting, citing the ongoing investigation.
It’s still unclear what events transpired beforehand.
“Officer-involved critical incidents are always difficult to investigate," said Greg Skordas, a defense attorney and former prosecutor. "We like to think our officers are doing their job and have to act quickly on the spur of the moment, and sometimes they draw their weapon and sometimes they fire their weapon, and sometimes people are injured as a result of that."
Skordas says the investigation will be treated similarly to a homicide investigation given the shots being fired by a law enforcement officer.
“Just looking at the limited reports that we have so far and seeing the nature of the injuries that two individuals, which appear to have been shot in the back, there does not seem to be any other weapons involved,” said Skordas. “You’d expect that there will be an investigation against this officer to determine whether or not her conduct was justified under the circumstances.”
The FBI is continuing to investigate and provided no new public insight on Tuesday.
According to attorneys for the two victims who were shot, they are both "home now dealing with the aftermath of their serious injuries.”
The status of the Ute Tribe Fish and Wildlife officer is unclear.
Utah couple shot in back by tribal game officer had no weapons, law enforcement says
By Pat Reavy, KSL.com
Posted - Aug. 10, 2022
Duchesne County — No weapons were found in the area where a tribal fish and wildlife officer shot two people in the back last month, according to the Duchesne County Sheriff's Office.
On July 17, a man and woman were shot by a Ute Tribe Fish and Wildlife officer near Jenkins Park in Uinta Canyon. The FBI office in Salt Lake City released a brief statement with very few details about the shooting, stating only that, "Two nontribal individuals had been shot by a Ute Indian Tribe Fish and Wildlife officer following a UTV incident on tribal lands. The two individuals were transported to various hospitals. ... The FBI has taken over the investigation. No further details will be released at this time."
The couple were taken to hospitals in Colorado for treatment. Updated conditions for the two were not available Wednesday. The tribal officer was not injured.
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