Man arrested, accused of shooting, killing man in west Salt Lake City

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SALT LAKE CITY — A man was arrested Tuesday after police say he claimed he made a "snap decision" to shoot an unarmed man he thought was going to attack him.

David Delance Chase, 59, was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of murder.

On Tuesday, Salt Lake police were called to 3075 W. Decade Drive (1640 South) about 4:10 p.m. on a report of a shooting. Officers arrived to find the body of 42-year-old Thomas Priest.

Chase, the person who called 911, told emergency dispatchers Priest "tried to attack him," a police booking affidavit states. "(He) told the dispatcher he thought the victim tried to throw something at him while he was operating his vehicle. (Chase) reported he pulled over, stopped and stated 'he just came rushing at me, like just enraged!' (Chase) then told the dispatcher he pulled his weapon and fired."

Police detectives further questioned Chase, who told them he had met Priest about two months ago and helped him move a trailer. On Tuesday, Chase claims Priest called him and was "going off on me," and "was basically making threats" and accusing Chase of sleeping with his girlfriend, the affidavit states. Investigators noted, however, Chase "was unable to articulate threats that were made toward him."

Chase allegedly claimed Priest's girlfriend got a text from Priest on Tuesday saying he was going to burn his trailer down, according to the affidavit. Chase then drove with the girlfriend to the trailer.

"As (Chase) and the victim's girlfriend pull up, he reports the victim jumped out from behind the trailer and runs at the truck. (Chase) told detectives he should have kept driving," the affidavit says.

Instead, Chase said he drove about 50 more feet before stopping and getting out of his vehicle. At that point, Chase claims Priest ran toward him, according to the affidavit. Police say Chase also made conflicting statements to investigators, allegedly saying at one point "he thought (Priest) might have something in his hand behind his back," while also stating Priest "didn't have a weapon, the victim's fists were closed."

When Priest got within 3 feet of Chase's truck, Chase told police Priest "turned his body and (he) didn't know if the victim was going to throw something at him. (Chase) said he was scared and made a snap decision, so he grabbed his gun and fired," the affidavit states. "(Chase) told detectives he was still processing whether or not he had to shoot (Priest)."

Detectives then pressed Chase on what Priest was doing that prompted him to shoot.

"(Chase) made statements that (Priest) was unhinged (and threatening in) his demeanor. (He) said he thought the intent of the victim was to hurt him or the victim's girlfriend. (Chase) told detectives after the shooting, that (Priest's) girlfriend got out of his truck and yelled that he didn't need to kill him," and then got into Chase's truck and drove off, according to the affidavit.

A witness told police Priest was not armed and, when Chase got out of his truck, he held a gun behind his back before shooting, the affidavit alleges.

"The witness said, after firing the gun, the female exited the vehicle and was yelling that '(I) can't believe you ... killed him,'" according to the arrest report.

A second witness told police Priest allegedly yelled, 'What are you doing?' before Chase got out.

"The witness stated it did not look like the victim had any weapons. (Chase) then fired four shots, described by the witness as two sets of two shots," the affidavit states.

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Cassidy Wixom covers Utah County communities and is the evening breaking news reporter for
Pat Reavy is a longtime police and courts reporter. He joined the team in 2021, after many years of reporting at the Deseret News and KSL NewsRadio before that.


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