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DA: Salt Lake officer-involved shooting from May not justified

By Pat Reavy | Posted - Jul. 7, 2011 at 6:55 p.m.

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SALT LAKE CITY — The Salt Lake District Attorney's Office has determined an officer-involved shooting in May was not justified.

On May 8, Salt Lake City police officer Matthew Giles shot eight times at a juvenile who was attempting to steal a car near 1600 West and 400 South. The juvenile had already been involved in a hit-and-run accident.

In his statement to prosecutors, the officer said he feared for his life and that the car was about 20 feet away and coming at him when he fired. The juvenile, who hit a police car while trying to get away, was shot and injured.

But District Attorney Sim Gill said the officer's statement and the factual evidence did not add up.

Even if the car was moving 20 mph, Gill said the officer would have had to fire his weapon eight times in under a second if the vehicle was just 20 feet away.

"His statement was not supported by the evidence," Gill said. "Based on what he had presented, we could not justify the shooting."

The district attorney's office will now screen the case for possible charges.

"This is not an indication of any one particular department or law enforcement in general. This was a very specific analysis about an individual," Gill said.

Giles has been on standard paid leave since the shooting.

Salt Lake City police said Chief Chris Burbank would make a statement regarding the district attorney's decision later today.

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