Sandy police say they have linked evidence from an April drive-by shooting in Sandy to the same .45-caliber semiautomatic pistol used by a West Valley man to shoot two West Valley officers who raided his home last week.
Sandy Chief of Police Gary Leonard said Friday that a ballistics report indicates the gun used by Mark Pyle is the same gun used in the drive-by shooting. "My detectives are coordinating their investigation with West Valley detectives at this time," he said.A West Valley SWAT team stormed Pyle's home at 4507 S. 3600 West on May 30 under provisions allowed under a no-knock warrant to investigate possible drug and firearms activities. Pyle was killed in the subsequent exchange with police officers.
The warrant culminated a yearlong probe conducted by West Valley police, U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency and Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents.
That investigation was under way at the time someone drove by the home of Jim Romero, 585 E. 8680 South, late in the night of April 27 and fired rounds from a .45-caliber pistol.
"Evidence from that shooting has been linked to the .45 used by Mark Pyle to shoot the two West Valley officers," Leonard stated.
According to police accounts, Pyle, 32, charged at officers who had forced their way into his home about 11:45 p.m. One officer was shot in the chest, but was saved by a bulletproof vest. Another officer was shot in the thigh.
Officers responded by shooting Pyle four or five times in the chest.
Pyle's shooting, the second by West Valley police in two months, has provoked outrage from some citizens who say police there are trigger-happy. Family members and friends say Pyle was likely trying to defend his family, unaware the intruders were police officers.
Pyle was prohibited from possessing a firearm because of a felony theft conviction many years ago. Sources had told detectives that Pyle was heavily armed and had recently acquired two M-16 rifles.
His house had been fitted with motion detectors that turned on outside lights. He also had a guard dog patrolling his property.
Officers recovered an estimated 9,000 rounds of ammunition, as well as clips for M-16s, but no M-16s were recovered. They also recovered a pump shotgun and a small amount of marijuana.
The Salt Lake County attorney's office is still investigating the case.