Utah police officers have been cleared of wrongdoing in firing more than 20 shots and killing an armed man as he ran from police, ABC News reports.
According to Salt Lake City district attorney Sim Gill, Bernardo Palacios-Carbajal, 22, was shot as he ran from two police officers responding to a gun-threat call. Authorities yelled for him to drop the gun before shooting him.
Gill offered his condolences to the victim’s family before announcing the determination.
“We decline to file criminal charges against either officer for his use of deadly force,” Gill stated and added that police are generally considered legally justified to use deadly force if they reasonably believe their lives or others’ lives are in danger.
However, Mayor Erin Mendenhall, also a Democrat like Gill, says the video is “disturbing and upsetting. The surface of the incident has become a rallying point for protesters in the state. Many have called out Palacios-Carbajal’s name, posted fliers demanding justice, and have since painted the street outside Gill’s office red to symbolize blood.
The victim’s family calls for both officers to be criminally charged, claiming the victim was scared and only trying to get away. Attorneys for the family are expected to release a statement regarding the attorney general’s decision later Thursday.
Palacios-Carbajal died after midnight on May 23, after someone called 911 to report an apparent armed robbery. When officers arrived on the scene, they saw Palacios-Carbajal near the Utah Village Motel and pursued him. Authorities chased after him and yelled for him to stop and drop the firearm, the Washington Post reports.
Video surveillance shows Palacios-Carbajal trip and falls several times before getting up and continuing to run away from police. He picked up what officers identified as a gun off the ground, and that is when both officers started shooting, Gill stated.
“The desire to retrieve the gun was greater than the desire to run away,” he said. The weapon was found nearby after the shooting, authorities have said.
Both officers were placed on administrative leave, a standard practice for police-involved shootings.