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MILLCREEK — The Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office has determined that the fatal shooting of a 31-year-old Millcreek man in July by two Unified police officers was legally justified.
"Under the circumstances … the officers reasonably believed that the use of deadly force was necessary to prevent death or serious bodily injury to the officers and/or another person," District Attorney Sim Gill determined in his report.
On July 25, officers were called to a domestic violence incident at 360 E. Woodlake Cove (4055 South) that later escalated into a "man with a gun" call, according to Gill's report. The wife of Nicholas Lister told a 911 dispatcher that her husband "had threatened to shoot police if they came inside the apartment," the report states. Lister, who had been drinking, was also suicidal.
After officers arrived, they called Lister using his wife's cellphone and tried to convince him to put down his gun and "sleep off the intoxication."
Lister responded by telling the officer that "the only way the incident was going to end was that either he was going to kill himself or he would kill someone if they came through the apartment door. Lister also told (the officer) that he was 'bunkered in,' and 'ready to fight for his freedom,'" the report states.
Under the circumstances … the officers reasonably believed that the use of deadly force was necessary to prevent death or serious bodily injury to the officers and/or another person.
Lister later called back and told the officers he was going to walk onto his balcony with his gun and have a smoke. Fearing for the safety of officers as well as others in the apartment complex, police told him not to bring his weapons outside.
Lister walked out onto his balcony and, after ignoring police commands to drop his weapon, began swinging a 12-gauge shotgun in the direction of Unified police officers Gary Evans and Shane Franchow. Lister fired at least one round from his shotgun, Gill's report states. Police later also found a loaded .380mm handgun from the balcony.
Evans and Franchow fired a combined 25 shots at Lister, according to the report.
"Given the totality of the circumstances they faced, officer Evans and officer Franchow reasonably believed their lives were in danger when Lister presented an imminent and unlawful threat of death or serious bodily injury. Officer Evans’ and officer Franchow’s belief that deadly force was necessary to prevent their death or serious bodily injury was reasonable," Gill wrote.