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Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Man killed by officers at waste incinerator had history of mental illness, police say

By Pat Reavy | Posted - Feb. 27, 2017 at 7:21 p.m.



This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

ARAGONITE, Tooele County — A man shot and killed at a hazardous waste disposal facility Sunday had a history of mental illness, police confirmed on Monday.

Authorities still did not release the man's name, citing one family member who had not been notified of his death. But a few more details about Sunday's fatal confrontation were released.

The incident began about 6:30 a.m. at the Clean Harbors Incineration Facility in Aragonite, about 60 miles east of Wendover. The isolated facility accepts nearly all waste codes, including PCB waste, according to the company's website. The incinerator is the only establishment in the area.

The man, who was in a pickup truck, was first approached by two employees at the entrance of the fenced business who asked if he needed help, said Utah County Sheriff's Sgt. Spencer Cannon. He said he did not.

A short time later as employees arrived for work, the man followed other cars into the facility, getting close to the vehicle in front of him so he could get through the gate before it closed, Cannon said.

When employees again approached the man and told him he needed to leave, "he initiated a physical confrontation. They reported that the suspect then raised his arms and that is when they saw that the suspect was carrying a gun in a holster," the sergeant said.

The man then allegedly made several threats. He threatened to blow up the facility and also run his pickup truck into some nearby propane tanks, according to Cannon.

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A Tooele County sheriff's deputy and a Utah Highway Patrol trooper responded to Clean Harbors. They confronted the man and "gave several commands to the suspect," Cannon said, before firing their weapons from about 160 feet away.

Tooele County Sheriff Paul Wimmer said Sunday that the man had "presented a gun and the officers fired."

The man then crawled under his truck where he was later found deceased. A search was conducted of the area by a bomb squad. No explosives were found, Cannon said. Additionally, he said a search warrant was served on the man's residence.

Detectives do not believe the man had any connection to the facility or ties to any employees.

"Investigators have also learned that the suspect has a history of mental health struggles," the sergeant said.

An autopsy was scheduled for Monday.

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Pat Reavy

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