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Police shooting that killed teen in West Jordan ruled justified by DA Sim Gill

Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said the police shooting that took the life of one was justified, Gill announced Friday. (Screenshot from news conference livestream)

SALT LAKE CITY– Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill ruled the police shooting that left one officer injured and took the life of a teen as justified.

Gill announced the ruling Friday during a news conference debriefing the public on the specifics of a West Jordan police shooting in August that killed 17-year-old Cyrus Carpenter and injured one officer. 

The DA’s office presented four videos from the shooting, including bodycam footage from Officer Gage Hoogveldt and dashcam video captured. 

Gill said after evaluating the video evidence and testimonies from the officers involved, the DA’s office concluded the use of deadly force was justified. 

The facts of this case show Hoogveldt feared for his life, Gill said. “His actions [Officer Hoogveldt], though resulting in Mr. Carpenter’s death, likely saved many lives in addition to his own.” 

Details of the police shooting 

On Aug. 2, 2020, West Jordan police responded to a call of a stolen pickup truck. The caller was following the truck and led police to where the truck was located. According to West Jordan police, they stopped a red truck near 2160 W. 7680 South and found multiple people inside the vehicle. But authorities reported no one was willing to get out of the truck. 

Officer Taylor Jackson called for backup when the occupants refused to get out of the truck, Gill said. Officer Hoogveldt is heard on video asking the people in the truck to get out and to “make this easy for us.” 

When one of the occupants eventually got out of the truck, police said gunfire was exchanged between the officers and someone inside the truck.

A bullet struck Jackson in the shoulder, according to Gill. Gill said Jackson attempted to reach for his gun but was unable to because he was shot in the upper shoulder area. 

According to Gill, Officer Hoogveldt heard the shot and headed toward the truck, when he “removed his handgun from the holster.” 

Once Hoogveldt removed his firearm, “Mr. Carpenter held up a handgun and fired a shot through the windshield,” Gill said. 

After that, an exchange of gunfire is heard in the video. Gill said Hoogveldt “fired many shots” toward the truck and Carpenter took off running up the street once Hoogveldt “stopped to reload his weapon.”

Hoogveldt said, “I need to shoot this guy or he is going to hit me,” according to Gill. Additional shots were fired after Hoogveldt reloaded his handgun.

Soon after, with Hoogveldt’s firearm still drawn, “they [the officers at the scene] found Mr. Carpenter laying on the grass with his handgun by his side,” Gill said. 

Gill said Hoogveldt fired a total of 23 shots. Seven bullets hit Carpenter: twice in the back, once in the buttocks, once in the neck, once in the lower left arm, one in the throat and once in the right hand. 

Officer Jackson sustained non-life-threatening injuries.