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SOUTH JORDAN — A veteran police officer has been cleared in the death of a South Jordan man in a shootout last month.
Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill announced Monday that Sgt. Larimie Lancaster's use of deadly force against Ty Worthington, 26, has been found justified.
Officers had been called Nov. 22 to the home of Worthington's parents, where he had reportedly been trespassing. Officers had taken Worthington from the same home, on the 11300 block of Brook-N-Lance Lane, the previous day following a drug overdose, South Jordan Police Lt. Jason Knight said Monday. Worthington had been taken to Lone Peak Medical Center and released later that day.
Worthington had fled the home by the time officers arrived. About 45 minutes later, a neighbor tipped police that Worthington was headed back toward the house, and Lancaster went to intercept him.
As Lancaster came around a house, "the two happened upon each other simultaneously at the horse corral in a face-to-face confrontation," Knight said.
Worthington refused Lancaster's request to come and talk to him, instead running into the corral, ducking behind a parked boat and crouching as he searched through a backpack he was carrying.
After Worthington didn't respond to instructions to come out, Lancaster drew his weapon and began moving around the boat. He encountered Worthington, raising a Ruger .22-caliber revolver, and Lancaster fired several rounds, Knight said.
Worthington fired as Lancaster paused, and Lancaster fired back. The officer radioed for help, continued to move around the boat, and finding Worthington with the gun still drawn, fired several more shots.
Worthington collapsed, hit by three of the 13 rounds Lancaster fired, including one shot that cut through his torso, Knight said. Worthington fired twice. Lancaster and another officer attempted to render aid, but Worthington was pronounced dead at the scene.
Lancaster, a 17-year police veteran who has spent the bulk of his career in South Jordan, was wearing a body camera at the time of the shooting but didn't activate it. The department is currently testing different models of cameras and does not yet have policies in place requiring officers to turn on the cameras, Knight said.
Once the department selects a model of camera, they will be "fully integrated in daily operations and there will be an expectation of their use in warranted situations as outlined with the forthcoming policy," Knight explained.
This is the second fatal officer-involved shooting in Utah this year where an officer was wearing a body camera but didn't use it.
Saratoga Springs police confirmed last month that one of the two officers who confronted Darrien Hunt, 22, before he was shot Sept. 10 did not turn on his body camera, and it may not have worked anyway.
A search of court records revealed Worthington had a troubled history of mostly drug- and alcohol-related charges and convictions over the past several years.
Worthington was released from the Salt Lake County Jail just four days before his confrontation with South Jordan police so he could attend a drug treatment facility, according to court records.
Contributing: Devon Dolan