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SALT LAKE CITY — A seemingly routine confrontation with a suspicious man outside a convenience store escalated quickly and resulted in Roy police firing 16 shots in six seconds - including at least one using the suspect's own gun — killing the man.
On Feb. 21, Nicolas Sanchez, 38, of Layton, was shot by two Roy police officers outside a Texaco gas station, 4395 S. 1900 West in Roy. The officers fired in "self-defense," the department said in a prepared statement after the incident.
On Friday, the body camera videos from the two officers were released. Attorney Heather White, who was hired by the city to handle the requests for the video, held a press conference in Salt Lake City to release it.
At White's advice, no one from the Roy City Police Department was present.
"All questions about the matter should be directed to me," she said.
The names of the officers involved were not released Friday. Both were "younger" officers, White said. Both remained on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation by the Weber County Attorney's Office.
The incident began when officers were called to the gas station and convenience store because Sanchez was allegedly loitering and "acting suspiciously," White said.
The body camera videos begin with the officers confronting Sanchez just outside the entrance of the store. One of the officers tells Sanchez to step forward to talk to him.
"Or do you just want to be arrested right now? Your choice," the officer tells him.
"What do you want to talk to me for?" Sanchez replies with a surprised look on his face.
"I will let you know. We got called over here on you," an officer tells him.
"What did I do, though?” Sanchez asks.
"I’m gong to talk to you. Come over here and talk to me," the officer says, telling him to step a couple of feet forward.
As Sanchez starts to move, he puts a hand in his pocket.
"Keep your hands out of your pockets for me," one officer tells him.
"Oh, sorry, I ain’t got nothin'," Sanchez replies.
But as he lifts up his hoodie while saying he has nothing, the officers spot a gun in his waistband. Sanchez does not reach for the gun at that point.
"You got a gun on you. Do not reach for it," one officer tells him.
"Do not reach for your pocket," the other officer says.
"Huh?" said Sanchez.
At this point, an officer starts walking toward Sanchez and reaches out to grab him.
"What are you doing, dude? What are you doing?" Sanchez asks as he pulls away from the officer and starts to run.
The officer chases Sanchez into the dark parking lot. Just a second or two later, a shot is heard. Following a short pause, the Deseret News counted 15 more shots. The Deseret News counted a total of 16 shots in six seconds, including the final 15 in three seconds.
According to White, the officer that chased Sanchez wrestled with him over his gun. She said at that point, the gun was in Sanchez's hand.
"At one point, the officer trying to wrestle the gun from Sanchez's hands saw the gun pointing at his face," she said. "It was clear to the second officer that his partner's life was in imminent danger, and he began to fire at Sanchez."
The officer who was struggling with Sanchez was able to wrestle the gun away from him.
"There’s a point which it goes to the ground and it’s not entirely clear from the video at what point it is, during the process of wrestling it, that the officer is able to knock it loose,” White said.
But after hearing the initial shots, and not knowing whether Sanchez was firing at him using a second weapon, the officer who had been wrestling with Sanchez, grabbed Sanchez's gun that was just knocked away and used it to shoot Sanchez, White said.
"We believe that the officers acted appropriately," she said.
Sanchez had a lengthy criminal history, including prior charges for possession of a weapon by a dangerous person, unlawful detention and theft by receiving stolen property. Roy police said he also had an "extensive" criminal record in California and was "recently terminated from federal probation" at the time of the shooting and prohibited from having a firearm.
White said Friday she did not know if the officers knew of Sanchez's criminal background prior to the shooting.