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Man shot by Salt Lake City police officer

Posted - Apr. 7, 2010 at 2:54 p.m.


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SALT LAKE CITY -- A downtown Salt Lake City neighborhood was startled by gunfire Wednesday morning. A police officer shot a 20-year-old man, who is now in critical condition.

Officers were initially responding to a suicide call at a home near 600 East and 100 South. They say a relative of 20-year-old Roger Cantu called dispatch around 8:30, and police arrived a short time later.

Amanda Valenzuela lives nearby and says her husband saw a man running behind their house and down an alley. That was followed by what she said was a "boom, boom, boom."

"Well I knew it was a gun. I knew it was a gun. I heard the first crack," Valenzuela said. "I thought somebody is shooting fireworks or something, and then I heard the 'boom, boom,' and I knew that was definitely a gun."

Salt Lake City police Detective Pat Wilkinson wouldn't give details about what happened, other than to say the officer felt he needed to use deadly force.

"Due to the subject's actions shots were fired," Wilkinson said. "I don't know what weapons, or actions the subject took to cause the officer to use the necessary force."

"I ran out here, and the police were already here, and they had the one on the ground," said Valenzuela. "He did not look like he was doing too good; and the other boy with dreadlocks they put in a car and took off immediately."

Police say that man neighbors described as having dreadlocks is most likely a witness to the shooting.

Crime tape and police markers surrounded the area where the shooting took place for several hours, while crime scene units studied that area.

"It's unfortunate that everyday police officers are put in situations where they have to use this type of force or other force," Wilkinson said.

Police said Cantu did not have a gun and was taken to the hospital in critical condition. He is expected to recover.

The officer who shot the man is on administrative leave pending the investigation.

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Story compiled with contributions from Anne Forester and Randall Jeppesen.

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