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West Jordan shooting deemed justified

KSL TV File

SALT LAKE COUNTY – Prosecutors have determined a deadly officer-involved shooting in West Jordan last October was justified, but, they acknowledge that the public may have a lot of questions about it.

The shooting happened when Diamonte Riviore went to his girlfriend’s apartment on Cherry Leaf Drive, even though the victim had a protective order filed against him.  Police got a call from the victim’s mother.

“Her daughter had texted her that her boyfriend, Diamonte Riviore, was at her apartment and was holding a knife to her throat and had threatened to kill her,” says Salt Lake County DA Sim Gill.

Investigators believe Riviore threatened to kill his victim’s baby if the woman called police.

One officer, Brian White, knew Riviore and thought he had a good rapport with him.  Gill says White believed he would be able to calm Riviore down, but, their suspect ran into the bathroom with the knife he threatened his victims with.

Body camera video shows two officers approaching the bathroom door with their tasers deployed while White stayed behind them with his pistol as a back-up.  Riviore is seen in the video rapidly opening and closing the bathroom door and when the two officers fired their tasers, they didn’t hit Riviore.  Gill says that’s when it looked like Riviore was coming out of the bathroom.

“He can be seen gesturing in a stabbing motion, side to side,” Gill says.

(Warning: Actual shooting not shown, but scene can be described as intense. Viewer discretion is advised)

Gill believes White felt lives were in danger, which is why the shooting was justified.  However, he says there are unanswered questions that the community may want answers to.  In a letter he wrote to the West Jordan Police Department and the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office, Gill wrote…

“We don’t know why the officers chose to address the situation in the manner they did: the officers entered a congested, cluttered bedroom and found themselves in confined space” the domestic violence victim reasonably appeared to be removed from the immediate danger: the officers approached and confronted an armed man in very close proximity.”

West Jordan Police Chief Ken Wallentine believes the officers had no choice but to enter the apartment.  Just Riviore’s presence in that home was a violation of the victim’s protective order, and it was enough to arrest him.

“We didn’t have Superman X-ray vision.  We couldn’t see in there before they went in.  The officers didn’t know the circumstances they were going into,” Wallentine says.

None of the officers expected the encounter to end in gunfire, according to Wallentine.

“Officer White sincerely believed, and we have every to understand that his belief was well founded, that he would be able to dialogue with this individual.  He had done it before and he had a better outcome before and that’s, frankly, what he hoped for,” he adds.