clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Video shows Salt Lake police shooting man as he steps off porch

Delorean Pikyavit
Delorean Pikyavit
Salt Lake County Jail

SALT LAKE CITY — Police body camera video released Wednesday shows Salt Lake police shooting and killing a suicidal man following repeated commands to put his weapons down and to sit down.

The single video was recorded by a member of the Salt Lake City SWAT team during a standoff with Delorean Pikyavit, 32, on the front porch of 1132 E. Princeton Ave. (1155 South) on April 18.

Officers were originally called to the area on a report of a domestic violence situation in which weapons were involved.

Pikyavit's girlfriend went to a neighbor's house to call 911. She reported that he was breaking windows, had punched her and was holding half of a pair of scissors to his throat.

"I said, 'What is wrong with you?' And he said, 'Do you want to see somebody die?'" the girlfriend tells the dispatcher in a recording of the 911 call also released Wednesday. "He punched me over and over and over."

When officers arrived at the scene, they noticed Pikyavit, who had followed his girlfriend next door, on the sidewalk, said Salt Lake Police Capt. Lance VanDongen, the commander over SWAT. As they approached Pikyavit, he ran back into the house.

Officers could see he was holding two weapons — a knife and half a pair of scissors, VanDongen said.

Officers then learned that Pikyavit had recently walked away from a halfway house and had a felony warrant out for his arrest for child endangerment, the captain said. The man's criminal history included several alcohol and drug-related convictions.

A negotiator was called to the scene to try and talk Pikyavit into surrendering peacefully. But Pikyavit made comments about "going out with a bang," VanDongen said.

About 30 minutes after the negotiator was called, police called out their SWAT team.

Approximately 30 minutes later, officers smelled gas coming from the house and Pikyavit "alluded to igniting a lighter," VanDongen said. The SWAT team then had the gas to the house turned off.

"At (1:47 p.m.), Pikyavit says he is not going back to jail and that he is going to die today," the captain said.

Three minutes later, Pikyavit came out of the house holding a knife in one hand and the half a pair of scissors in the other saying, "Shoot me," according to police.

"Do me a favor and sit down. Will you sit down for me?" an officer is heard in the video yelling at Pikyavit. "It's not a time to play games right now."

Over the next 90 seconds, VanDongen said, Pikyavit was told nine times to sit down and 11 times to drop his weapons.

Pikyavit is seen in the video swinging his arms as he teeters back and forth on the bottom step of the porch. An officer can be heard in the background telling another to be quiet, apparently so as not to have two officers yelling commands at the same time.

When Pikyavit takes a step down off the porch, two officers — from several feet away — fire simultaneously. One officer fired from a .223-caliber rifle, and the other a 40 mm "less than lethal" round, which is essentially a large rubber bullet, according to police.

Pikyavit later died from his injuries at a local hospital. Inside the house, investigators found a note "in which the suspect identified himself as a criminal and alluded to killing police," VanDongen said.

He emphasized Wednesday how dangerous domestic violence calls can be for all parties involved, including police.

"Domestic violence calls are highly unpredictable and considered high-hazard calls," VanDongen said.

There have been 18 domestic violence-related calls involving a weapon for Salt Lake police in 2018. The shooting was the city's first officer-involved critical incident of the year.

The officer-involved shooting investigation being conducted by West Valley police is still open and active. Salt Lake police did not take questions Wednesday while showing the video, instead sticking to a prepared script. The video was released per Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski's policy announced in October that all body-camera video from critical incidents be released to the public within 10 days barring any "unusual or unforeseen circumstances."

One officer remained on paid administrative leave Wednesday pending the outcome of the investigation.