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Investigation: Murray officer justified in firing 7 shots at gunman

FILE: A man was found dead inside a Murray house after a nearly 6-hour standoff. A Murray police officer was lucky to escape injury during the incident after being shot in his holster.
FILE: A man was found dead inside a Murray house after a nearly 6-hour standoff. A Murray police officer was lucky to escape injury during the incident after being shot in his holster.
Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — A Murray police officer involved in a shootout with a man who had broken into his ex-girlfriend's house in February was legally justified in firing at the man, the Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office determined Friday.

Officer Michael Walker was shot at four times by Tyler Persellin, 29, of Midvale, on Feb. 21. Walker subsequently returned fire, shooting at Persellin seven times, according to a report from District Attorney Sim Gill.

Persellin retreated into the house and was later found deceased. A medical examiner determined he died from a self-inflicted gunshot, the report states.

The incident started at 584 W. Winchester St. (6400 South). Persellin, who had broken up with his ex-girlfriend a few weeks earlier, broke into the woman's home and started breaking things in the basement.

The ex-girlfriend and another woman were watching a movie when they heard the break-in and they told police they ran out of the house through the garage and called 911. The ex-girlfriend said she had installed surveillance cameras outside the home because of Persellin's "prior stalking incidents," according to the report.

Walker and another officer were called to the scene. While talking to the ex-girlfriend, Walker opened the garage and "saw a man subsequently identified as Tyler Persellin open the door from the home to the garage and step into the garage. Officer Walker ordered Mr. Persellin to show his hands. Mr. Persellin raised his hand toward officer Walker and fired four shots at officer Walker," the report states.

"Officer Walker said he heard a pop and saw a muzzle flash. Officer Walker said he believed Mr. Persellin was firing a gun at him. Officer Walker said he felt like Mr. Persellin was trying to kill him," Gill wrote.

"Officer Walker returned fire and shot seven rounds at Mr. Persellin."

Walker was wearing a body camera which recorded Persellin shooting at him.

At least one of Persellin's shots grazed or hit Walker's holster, according to police. The district attorney's report did not say if any of Walker's seven shots hit Persellin.

The shooting prompted a six-hour standoff with a SWAT team that ended when SWAT team members finally entered and found Persellin dead.

Email: preavy@deseretnews.com

Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam