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Family responds after DA ruling in officer-involved shooting of Pena-Valencia

SALT LAKE CITY — The family of Bryan Ulysses Pena-Valencia is talking about the decision released Friday involving the officer-involved death of their son and brother about a year ago.

On Friday, Salt Lake County Attorney Sim Gill announced that the shooting by Officer Omar Flores was not justified. But Gill also announced that his office would not pursue criminal charges against Flores.

“I miss him. I miss my brother. There’s no words that I can tell you, to tell what’s it’s done to my family,” Mario Herrera told KSL TV’s Andrew Adams in an exclusive interview.

“Bryan was trying to better his life, after a hard life,” Herrera said.

Hear the rest of the family’s statement in Adam’s video report above.

Calls to 911 about gunshots, a police chase, defying police orders

Pena-Valencia was shot by Officer Flores on March 21, 2020 after police responded to a 911 call about gunshots in the area of 6200 S. Bangerter Highway. According to police, Pena-Valencia fled from them in a car then crashed the car. A chase on foot began, which involved jumping a fence (whereby Flores lost his body-worn camera.)  

Officers reportedly used a taser on Pena-Valencia twice before eventually firing when Flores says he believed his life was in danger.

In Gill’s report, the Salt Lake County DA said that the officer’s belief that his life was in danger wasn’t enough to justify the shooting of Pena-Valencia. He agreed that that Pena-Valencia did not have the means to injure the officer.