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SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill has determined a fatal shooting involving a Salt Lake City police officer in September was justified.
Salt Lake City police officers were investigating the attempted robbery of A-1 Vacuum Sales and Service, 1597 S. Main, that happened about an hour earlier. Acting on a hunch, an officer stopped at the nearby Colonial Village Motel and asked to look at surveillance video, according to a report from the DA's office.
The officer noticed a man wearing a black hoodie leave one the rooms just minutes prior to the robbery. Two officers decided to check the room.
When they got to a back bedroom, after having already called out, "Salt Lake City Police, we're coming in," Hinshaw jumped from behind a wall to the middle of the doorway and said, "Hey!," according to the DA report office.
"The man had his arms extended outward, with hands together at chest level, in the manner consistent with holding a gun in order to fire it," the report stated.
Fearing he was being ambushed, the officer fired four rounds, striking the man three times. Hinshaw fell backwards onto the bed and landed face down with his hands under him, according to the District Attorney's Office.
Officers later found a folding knife underneath Hinshaw that they determined he had been holding when he jumped in front of the officer. Hinshaw died as a result of his injuries.
Investigators talked to Hinshaw's wife who told them they were about to be evicted from their hotel if they didn't come up with money that day.
"Additionally, Ms. Hinshaw said that Mr. Hinshaw would often say 'I’d rather die than go back to jail,'" according to the DA's report.
Dale Hedden, the longtime 84-year-old owner of the vacuum store, ended up chasing Hinshaw out of his store, along with his dog, after Hinshaw attempted to rob it.
"He said, 'My kids are starving. I would never do this.' … He ran down the street and said, 'My gun wasn't real.' And I said, 'Well, mine is,'" Hedden said the day of the robbery. "I hate to see anybody get killed. He might have been in dire straits. You never know."