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Deadly force deemed as justified in October shooting

(Salt Lake County DA Sim Gill, showing footage from the October shooting. Credit: Paul Nelson)

SALT LAKE CITY – Two police officers will not be facing any charges for using deadly force outside of a Salt Lake City apartment complex last October.  Prosecutors believe the video evidence shows the detectives were defending themselves and would be able to prove it if the case went to trial.

The shooting happened on October 18, 2018, but the investigation actually started two days before that.  Police say Andrey TkaCchenko fled from police in a stolen car.  Officers got a GPS warrant to search for that car, and tracked it down to an area near the Peter Pan Apartments near 300 South in Salt Lake City.

Prosecutors say Detective Valdez from Unified Police and Detective Stidham from Saratoga Springs approached the car while Tkachenko was inside.

District Attorney Sim Gill says, “Mister Tkachenko started revving the engine and rapidly accelerated, driving his car at both detectives.”

Security camera footage reportedly shows Tkachenko’s car slammed into a police vehicle, but both detectives had to jump out of the way.

“Both detectives fired their weapons at Mr. Tkachenko out of fear of being pinned underneath and hit by the vehicle.  Both detectives knees were grazed by Mr. Tkachenko’s car as he sped towards them,” Gill says.

The struggle continued briefly after shots were fired.

Gill says, “As the officers approached the vehicle, Mr. Tkachenko raised both his hands then began lowering one hand to his waistband.  Officer were able to break through the driver’s side window and stop Mr. Tkachenko’s movements.”

Tkachenko was pulled out of the car and officers allegedly tried CPR, to no avail.

(Andrey Tkachenko. Credit: Salt Lake County Jail)

Investigators do not have body cam footage of the shooting.  Gill says Valdez was wearing one, but its batteries had no power.  Plus, there was another officer wearing a camera, however, “Detective Pender did not start his until after the shooting had happened,” Gill says.

The Deseret News reports neighbors heard five to ten shots.