The Uintah County attorney's office has determined that a deputy sheriff who shot and injured a man accused of sexually abusing his young children was justified in his use of deadly force.

The attorney's office issued a press release announcing completion of its independent investigation into the shooting of Terry Palmer, 35, Jensen, by a deputy sheriff during an altercation.The shooting occurred the evening of Dec. 5, when the three deputies accompanied a social service worker to the Palmer home to check on the well-being of the children, ages 8, 5 and 3.

Utah law allows an officer to use deadly force when he reasonably believes such action is necessary to prevent death or serious bodily injury to himself or another person.

"It is the conclusion of this office that the deputy who fired at Terry Palmer reasonably believed that his life, the lives of the other deputies and the life of the social service worker were in danger," the press release said. Names of the officers involved in the incident were not released.

"Although not required by Utah law, two officers shouted at Terry Palmer to cease his actions prior to the use of deadly force. The deputy had no alternative but to shoot when faced by an armed suspect whose actions and words clearly indicated an intent to kill the officer," the release said. "All officers at the scene demonstrated sound judgment and concern for the safety of Mrs. Palmer, the children and the social worker.

"The officer who fired the shot also showed great restraint," the county attorney's office reported. "Had he not acted as he did, in all likelihood he or someone else would have been killed or seriously injured by Terry Palmer."

In addition to facing felony counts of sodomy on a child, aggravated sexual abuse of a child and child abuse, Palmer has now been charged with attempted capital murder of a police officer.

Investigators said officers went to the Palmer home after receiving information that led them to believe the children's mother, Joy Palmer, was planning to take the children and leave the area. At the time of the incident, Joy Palmer was under investigation for witness tampering. She was later charged with the crime.

Upon their arrival at the home, the officers were surprised to find Terry Palmer, believing that he was still being held in the Uintah County jail on the child sexual abuse charges. He was also under a Division of Family Service order to have no contact with the children.

The officers were allowed into the home. Joy Palmer then telephoned her attorney. When they were told that the children would be taken into protective custody, the Palmers became agitated.

As Joy Palmer was being arrested for witness tampering, Terry Palmer bolted from the room and ran through the length of the double-wide trailer into a rear bedroom where he got a loaded Mauser 7 mm rifle, which he aimed at officers, investigators said. One officer fired one shot that struck Terry Palmer in the left wrist and then lodged in his neck.

Palmer was taken to a Salt Lake hospital for treatment and later released. He is being held in the Uintah County jail.