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Police in Utah quickly release video of fatal OIS of home invader and alleged thief to dispel controversy

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A Utah Police Department has released body camera footage that depicts a fatal shooting from earlier this month.

The video shows police in pursuit of 20-year-old Elijah James Smith, who had reportedly stolen from a West Valley City mobile phone store.

According to the police report, Smith entered two homes during his escape attempt, including one occupied by three minors who were home alone.

Informed of Smith’s presence by a 13-year-old, officers of the West Valley City Police cornered Smith in a garage, ordering him to show his hands over fifteen times.

Hand in his pocket, Smith made a quick gesture that police perceived as pulling out a weapon and was shot by both officers, one by firearm and another by Taser.

“Both officers perceived that as a threat at the same time and they both fired,” WVCPD Chief Colleen Jacobs said.

“I am sad for his loss. It is an unfortunate incident that Mr. Smith lost his life in this incident 23:18,” she added, referring to the original video’s timestamp. “[But] he did not lose his life because of his race.”

However, Smith’s family was quick to defend him, claiming that he should have been tackled or tased instead of shot when he seemingly reached for a weapon.

“I don’t think that was right for that officer to do that, even though his hand was in the pocket they should have still Tased him and tackled him. I just think he was going to put the other hand up,” she told KUTV.

The incident remains under investigation.


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