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Officer shoots, kills suspect in Subway robberies

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MIDVALE — A man wanted in connection with a string of armed robberies was shot and killed by a Salt Lake County sheriff's detective inside a motel Wednesday night.

Acting on a tip, detectives went to the Discovery Inn, 380 W. 7200 South, about 8:30 p.m. looking for a woman they believed was responsible for a recent string of Subway Sandwich robberies. The deputies also had information she may be working with another person, Salt Lake County Sheriff's Sgt. Shane Hudson said.

Investigators developed a plan where they called the woman's room and claimed they were the motel managers. They told the woman, 19, she had to move her car, Hudson said. When the woman walked outside her room, she was arrested without incident, he said.

Deputies then entered the room to see if anyone else was inside. "They went into the room not knowing who was there but were prepared for the worst," Salt Lake County Sheriff Aaron Kennard said. They found a man armed with a 9 mm handgun who pointed his weapon at the deputies, Hudson said.

Courtney Nelson, 35, an 18-year veteran of the sheriff's office, fired once hitting Danny Lee Newman, 22, in the chest. Newman later died at a local hospital.

Investigators believe Newman is the same man who robbed a Subway Sandwich, 858 E. Fort Union Blvd., Saturday and a Top Stop Friday. During the Subway robbery, the gunman fired a shot at the store clerk, barely missing his head. Detectives Thursday were looking into whether Newman could be linked to similar robberies in Draper and Sandy.

The woman has been linked to three other Subway robberies and could be tied to others, Kennard said. "This could wrap up a lot of robberies in the area," he said. She was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail on three counts of aggravated robbery.

Neither the man nor woman were strangers to deputies, Kennard said.

Newman had been arrested by deputies previously, Hudson said.

Nelson has been placed on standard paid administrative leave while the shooting is reviewed.

Several journalists in town for the Olympics were staying at the Discovery Inn. One reporter asked Kennard whether hotels were safe for the international media and others here for the Games.

That was why investigators were working so hard to arrest the pair, Kennard said. They want to make hotels and motels safe.

Contributing: Pat Reavy.

E-mail: lhancock@desnews.com