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Man killed in police chase had lengthy criminal history

By Pat Reavy | Posted - Feb 26th, 2013 @ 1:05pm

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KAYSVILLE — A man who was shot and killed on I-15 by police Monday following a high speed chase through three counties had a long criminal history.

Brett Max Knight, 33, was shot by law enforcers after police say he raised a handgun and pointed it in their direction, said Department of Public Safety spokesman Dwayne Baird.

Four officers — including three deputies from the Davis County Sheriff's Office — opened fire, striking Knight multiple times after he refused to drop his gun and used it in a threatening manner. Baird did not believe Knight fired any shots.

The chase and shooting

Knight was wanted in connection with a robbery at Chase Bank, 223 E. 12300 South in Draper, on Friday. He entered the bank about 4:15 p.m. and presented a note to an employee and demanded money, police said. Surveillance video showed that the man made little attempt to hide his identity. Baird said Draper police investigating the robbery received multiple tips from the public that Knight might be the person responsible.

Just after 4 p.m. on Monday, plainclothes investigators went to a motel in Lehi where they believed Knight was staying. As Draper and Lehi police were gathering at the motel, Knight came out of his room, saw the officers and took off, Baird said.

Brett M. Knight

The motel was next to the freeway, and within seconds Knight was headed north on I-15, he said. The Utah Highway Patrol became involved in the chase at that point. Chase speeds reached 100 mph.

As troopers sped ahead of the fleeing vehicle to block traffic — at times shutting down both northbound and southbound lanes — Knight would wave a gun at them, according to Baird. Because of the danger Knight posed, the decision was made to continue the chase.

"He was displaying a weapon and pointing it in the direction of officers," Baird said.

At 4300 South, two of the tires on Knight's pickup were spiked by UHP troopers. By the time Knight reached 2600 South in Bountiful, those tires were down to their rims.

The Davis County Sheriff's Office assisted in the pursuit once it reached their jurisdiction. Davis County's armored BearCat vehicle join in the chase. Shortly after 5 p.m. near Kaysville, the BearCat performed a PIT maneuver on the fleeing pickup truck — bumping the rear quarter-panel, causing the truck to spin-out.

After sitting in his vehicle for a minute or two, Knight got out and could initially be seen holding a gun at his side. Law enforcers drew their guns and positioned themselves behind their vehicles. Not long afterward, his gun was raised and he was shot.

After the shooting, northbound I-15 through the Kaysville area remained closed for six hours until just after 11 p.m. while law enforcement conducted their investigation.

Criminal past

Utah state court records show Knight had a lengthy criminal history.

In January 2011, Knight's wife filed for divorce, 11 days after filing for a protective order, according to court records. In April, he was found guilty of violating a protective order. He was given a suspended jail sentence and sentenced to probation. Shortly after his sentence, his ex-wife requested that the protective order be removed.

In 2007, Knight pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault and was sentenced to probation. In 2005 he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor theft by deception and was again given a suspended jail sentence and probation. In 2004, Knight pleaded guilty to a reduced class A misdemeanor charge of theft and pleaded guilty to a felony theft charge in a separate case.

Also in 2004, Knight was convicted on a federal indictment for being a restricted person in possession of a firearm. In yet another case in 2004, Knight was convicted of disorderly conduct.

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In 1999, Knight pleaded guilty to unlawful detention in 4th District Court in Provo, a charge that was reduced from a first-degree felony aggravated kidnapping to a class B misdemeanor, according to court records. He was sentenced to more than eight months in jail.

Personality and work

Luanne Monson has seen the bank robbery pictures, the police chase video — even video of Knight with a gun. She still doesn't believe it.

"They are two different people," she said. "Honestly and truly. If you were to meet him right here in this room right now, he would be the life of the party."

Monson said the man she knew was a skilled craftsman who could make a good looking outdoor deck, or fix any problem. She said he'd do it with a smile.

"I could call him at midnight and say, ‘I have a client who's basement is flooding. Help.' And he would have been there," she said.

Still, she said there may have been one problem he couldn't fix.

"The recession hit and his industry was something that was hard hit," Monson said. "I didn't know the extent of the problems."

Knight was divorced, had three young children, and was always looking for more work to support them, Monson said.

"When you hit that low of lows, who knows what people think," she said.

Although she's upset at how her friend died, Monson said she couldn't believe what people were saying about him on website message boards, especially those stuck in traffic because of the standoff.

"It just made me sad because his life was ending and they couldn't get home," she said. "But people were saying horrible things and they don't know him."


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