CRIME, POLICE + COURTS

Charges dismissed against parole officer accused of shooting parolee

Apr 23, 2019, 7:02 PM | Updated: Dec 30, 2022, 11:28 am
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SALT LAKE CITY – The Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office asks a judge to dismiss aggravated assault charges against an Adult Probation and Parole agent who reportedly shot one of his parolees three times.

However, prosecutors still don’t believe the shooting was justified.

Andrew O’Gwin is accused of firing five shots at parolee Joe Gomez in Murray back in 2017, hitting him three times. Gomez survived.

It reportedly happened at the intersection of 4500 South Main street, and charging documents say O’Gwin claimed Gomez got out of his car then climbed on O’Gwin’s vehicle, banging on the window with something in his hand.  District Attorney Sim Gill says the evidence didn’t match O’Gwin’s claims.

“[Gomez] was shot as he was approaching the vehicle, not that he was on top of the vehicle and pounding on the vehicle, as it was alleged.  So, based on that, we ruled the shooting to be unjustified,” Gill says.

Witnesses also refute O’Gwin’s testimony, however, some of the claims that one witness made have changed, slightly.  Gill says the man had previously claimed he was parked nearby when the shooting happened.

However, Gill says, “As we continued to work the case, it was modified to that he was moving and he was approaching the vehicle.”

That small change in testimony has a big impact on the case Gill’s office was forming.  He says that witness’ perspective is actually different than previously claimed, and his testimony might not hold up under cross-examination.

Plus, the man who was shot, Gomez, is not going to be able to testify against O’Gwin.  Gill says, “Mister Gomez, in the interim period, also was charged with some federal crimes.  He was going to be unavailable to us as another potential witness.”

O’Gwin’s attorneys have told the Deseret News that the charges against his client were politically motivated.  Gill refutes that claim.

“We’re committed to doing the right thing for the right reason, no matter what the outcome is,” Gill says.

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Charges dismissed against parole officer accused of shooting parolee