PROVO — A review completed by Utah County officials has cleared two sheriff's deputies of any wrongdoing in the fatal shooting of an armed, suicidal Orem man near Utah Lake last year.
Detective Zachary Adams and deputy Corey King were justified in using deadly force when Todd Hainsworth pointed a handgun at them, Utah County Attorney Jeff Buhman wrote in a report released Tuesday.
The shooting occurred Nov. 3 near Lincoln Beach at the south end of Utah Lake.
According to Buhman's report, Hainsworth, 50, was suicidal after suffering marital and work-related difficulties. He was laid off from one job in early August and lost another in late September, around the same time his wife of 20 years filed for divorce.
Hainsworth's sister called Spanish Fork police Aug. 19 and reported he was suicidal. The day before, he had overdosed on prescription drugs, the report states. He later told a work friend that he was going to kill himself.
His wife had obtained a protective order preventing him from contacting her or their children and from going to their home in Orem. He violated that order Oct. 31 by driving to the home and tearing up the grass with his truck tires, according to the report.
The next day, Hainsworth left four messages on his wife's phone, saying he "would shoot any police (officer)" who made contact with him. He also called a friend and said he had taken pills and was going to end his life, the report says. The friend found Hainsworth in his truck near Lincoln Beach, but he refused to talk to her and drove off erratically.
He told a friend who saw him Nov. 2 that he believed there was a warrant out for his arrest for violating the protective order.
Early the following day, Hainsworth sent his wife a message saying they should not divorce, then sent another saying he had done something "really bad," according to the report.
Hainsworth called 911 and told a dispatcher he had taken 60 pills of the anti-anxiety drug Clonazepam and was distraught over his pending divorce. He asked the dispatcher to tell his wife he loved her and said he was at the south end of Utah Lake.
Shortly after 10 a.m., the dispatcher heard Hainsworth shoot his gun three times. He told the dispatcher he had shot his mirror and was reloading, the report says. He stayed on the line but stopped talking.
Sheriff's deputies in an airplane spotted Hainsworth's truck about three miles northwest of Lincoln Beach. Officers soon arrived in patrol cars and an armored van, which pulled up behind the truck.
Hainsworth put one hand out the truck window but refused to show both hands, according to the report. He then backed his truck into the van's front bumper. The van briefly pinned the truck against a berm, but Hainsworth then sped off down a dirt road and on to Lincoln Beach Road.
There, he drove past three deputies with their guns drawn, slightly striking one vehicle as he passed over a set of tire spikes. He then drove off the road and through a barbed wire fence toward the beach, bouncing wildly through sagebrush before coming to a stop.
Officers again approached in the armored van and told Hainsworth to show his hands, the report says. He did not comply.
Three deputies, including King, exited and used the van as cover while Adams aimed his rifle through a gun port in the side of the van.
As officers told Hainsworth to get out, he reached for what appeared to be a beer can, according to the report. He then exited the truck holding a handgun down to his side.
Several officers yelled for him to drop the gun, but he instead "squared off towards the van, raised the gun and pointed it towards the front of the armored van" where King was positioned with his upper body unprotected, the report says.
King shot his automatic rifle twice, and Adams fired three rounds nearly simultaneously, fatally wounding Hainsworth.
"Detective Adams and deputy King reasonably believed that deadly force was necessary to defend deputy King and the other deputies both inside and outside of the armored van from Mr. Hainsworth's imminent use of deadly force," Buhman wrote.
"Detective Adams and deputy King also reasonably believed that the danger to deputy King and others was immediate and would almost certainly result in death or serious bodily injury to deputy King or others," he concluded.