DA says officer-involved shooting in Holladay is justified
SALT LAKE CITY – Prosecutors say a Unified Police Department officer was justified in using potentially deadly force in Holladay after a man reportedly fought with an officer, and fired a gun at another.
Investigators say the shooting started after Eric Pectol got into a crash with his motorcycle last September. Unified Police Officer Jason Hudgens just happened to be filling his car with gas at that Holladay intersection when the crash happened, and rushed to see if Pectol needed help. However, Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill says Pectol started running away and Hudgens ordered him to stop.
“Mr. Pectol reached down his shorts and told Officer Hudgens he had a gun,” Gill says.
He says Hudgens fired a taser, which seemingly had no effect. Gill says Pectol charged Hudgens and overpowered him, sending the officer’s gun to the ground. Video shows Pectol grabbing the pistol from the ground, then lifting it toward Hudgens. Gill says that’s when Officer Charles Saulnier ordered Pectol to drop the weapon.
“Officer Saulnier said that Mr. Pectol, at this point, turned toward him and pointed the gun at him and fired one time in a southwest direction,” according to Gill.
Investigators say that round went through a home’s glass doors and landed in a fireplace. Gill says Saulnier was justified in thinking deadly force was necessary to protect himself.
Gill says, “Officer Saulnier said that Mr. Pectol, ‘Made it clear evident that his intention was to kill me when he shot at me.’”
Pectol survived and investigators learned he was a parolee wanted in connection with a crash that happened earlier that month. Gill says Pectol told family members he was suicidal over that crash.
“Mr. Pectol told investigators, ‘I never wanted to hurt him. I wanted him to kill me,’” he says.
Gill says there was no way the officers could have known Pectol was suicidal at the time.
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