Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes
PROVO — A man who was once charged with attempting to kill a police officer was shot and killed by police on Tuesday after allegedly pointing a gun at officers.
Paul Rasmussen, 48, of Orem, who police say had fled from officers minutes earlier, was getting out of his vehicle when officers turned on the lights on their police vehicle.
"It was reported that Paul Rasmussen pointed a gun at officers. Officers then shot Paul Rasmussen multiple times," Provo police said in a prepared statement.
The shooting happened just before 10 p.m. Tuesday. Earlier, a Utah County sheriff's deputy attempted to pull over a 2012 Buick LaCrosse on Geneva Road. According to Provo police, the driver had been "acting strangely," by slowing down, pulling off the road and then getting back on the road. As the deputy attempted to pull the man over, he drove off off at a high rate of speed through a residential area. The deputy did not pursue.
At 9:55 p.m., a detective from the Utah County Sheriff's Office and one from the Pleasant Grove Police Department, who were both working that night with the Utah County Major Crimes Task Force, spotted the vehicle parked near 300 North and 900 West. The detectives turned on their "police lights" and stepped out of their car. Just as they did, Rasmussen exited his vehicle and drew a gun, according to police. Shots were reported at 9:57 p.m.
It was unknown if any words were exchanged. No officers were injured.
The detectives immediately tried to administer aid to Rasmussen before he was taken to a local hospital where he died from his injuries an hour later.
The shooting will be investigated by the Utah County Officer-Involved Critical Incident Team.
Rasmussen was convicted in 2019 of drug possession and being a restricted person in possession of a gun, according to court records. But on the day he was to be sentenced, he failed to show up for court. An arrest warrant was issued on Aug. 5, 2019, and remained outstanding as of Tuesday.
Rasmussen has been charged and convicted numerous times of mostly drug and weapons offenses since the early '90s, according to court records, and has served time at the Utah State Prison. Most notably, he was convicted in 1997 of aggravated assault by a prisoner and theft by receiving stolen property in 4th District Court, according to court records. In that case, Rasmussen was originally charged with attempted aggravated murder for grabbing a knife and threatening Utah County SWAT team members as they entered his residence to serve a warrant. One deputy testified during Rasmussen's court hearings that had his girlfriend not stepped in, he would have shot Rasmussen.
Contributing: Michael Houck