Salt Lake County DA says 3 officers were legally justified in using deadly force

May 20, 2022, 7:00 PM | Updated: May 21, 2022, 11:05 am
Salt Lake County DA Sim Gill speaking behind a podium...
Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill speaks during a press conference at the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office building in Salt Lake City on Friday, March 18, 2022 (Scott G Winterton/Deseret News)
(Scott G Winterton/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake County DA Slim Gill said Friday in a press conference that three police officers involved in different shootings were legally justified in using deadly force.

The officers were cleared for their involvement in shootings out of West Valley, Sandy and West Jordan. According to a KSL.com article, the individuals involved in each shooting were either shot or shot at. All are facing criminal charges.

Police responding to a suicidal man in West Valley

On Aug. 7, West Valley police officers responded to a report of a suicidal man. Responding officers found Shilo Jason McCleery, 46, in a garage by a vehicle, with a gun.

“I saw Mr. McCleery lying on the floor of the garage, holding a handgun pointed at his temple and in their direction,” Gill said.

Officers then commanded McCleery to put his hands up. Gill said McCleery did not move, prompting one of the officers to fire a shot from across the street. He was not injured by a shot fired by officers.

McCleery’s gun was found outside the garage and they took him into custody.

McCleery is charged in 3rd District Court with discharge of a firearm, a third-degree felony.

Sandy SWAT Shootout

At about 5 a.m. on Sept. 8, members of the Sandy SWAT team served a no-knock search warrant at Arcadia Apartments where Sean DeJesus Darragh, 51, lived and was suspected of being involved with drug distribution. 

Sandy Police Sgt. Greg Moffitt, who was holding a protective shield, was one of the first to enter the apartment. Darragh drew a handgun from a holster on his hip and began running toward the entering officers. 

Both Moffit and Sandy Police Sgt. Curtis Robertson exchanged gunfire with Darragh. A short time later a woman and an injured Darragh exited the apartment and were taken into custody.

Darragh was treated at a local hospital and moved into the Salt Lake County Jail a week later on Sept. 15. He was charged in 3rd District Court with discharge of a firearm causing serious injury and two counts of drug possession with intent to distribute, first-degree felonies; two counts of theft by receiving stolen property, a second-degree felony; and two counts of possession of a firearm by a restricted person, a third-degree felony.

Moffitt was taken to a hospital where he underwent surgery. He was shot in the right forearm and right cheek of his face. He is currently back on duty for Sandy police and acting as the department’s spokesman.

Domestic Violence in West Jordan

On Oct. 31, West Jordan police received reports of a possible domestic violence incident. A woman sent a text to a relative saying that she potentially heard a gun-cocking sound from Pedro Cortes-Villaloa, whom she lived with. The woman left the residence, and Cortes-Villaloa followed.

Officers arrived at the residence and Cortes-Villaloa tried to get into his truck parked in the driveway. An officer grabbed Cortes-Villaloa to try and prevent him from entering the car when Cortes-Villaloa grabbed a gun from his truck

West Jordan Police Sgt. Nick Dailami, who was standing behind the other officer, told the officer to move and fired a single shot, striking Cortes-Villaloa in the face, according to the report. The bullet entered his left cheek and exited his right cheek. Police later recovered a gun from the driveway and a second gun from Cortes-Villaloa’s bedroom.

Cortes-Villaloa was charged in 3rd District Court with possession of a gun by a restricted person, a second-degree felony.


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Salt Lake County DA says 3 officers were legally justified in using deadly force