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Man killed by Salt Lake police had fired gun at officers, police say

SHARE Man killed by Salt Lake police had fired gun at officers, police say

SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake police say a man shot and killed by officers on Monday had a gun and had fired at least once at them.

Riche Antonio Santiago, 21, of Salt Lake City, was killed during a confrontation with two officers outside the Park Place Apartments, 350 E. 700 South. Officers were initially called to the complex to investigate a 911 hangup, meaning someone had dialed 911 but hung up after dispatchers answered without saying anything.

Riche Antonio Santiago

Riche Antonio Santiago

Salt Lake County Jail

The first arriving officers immediately "encountered a male who produced a gun and actually shot at our officers," said Salt Lake police detective Greg Wilking. "It was a very dynamic, quick incident that took place once the officers arrived on scene."

A Cadillac with bullet holes sat in the parking lot of the apartment complex Tuesday. Friends of Santiago say he was in the car with others, including a young child, when the confrontation occurred. Police said whether Santiago was inside or outside of the vehicle when he was shot was part of the investigation.

Friends say Santiago recently moved to Utah from California after separating from his wife.

"He was somebody’s dad, he was somebody’s husband, he was somebody’s son, and they don’t take those things into consideration. They shoot first and ask questions later,” said Holly Stites.

It was not known Tuesday how many shots were fired or if both officers fired their weapons. Both officers were placed on standard paid administrative leave pending an officer-involved critical incident investigation being conducted by West Valley police.

Wilking said Tuesday that police were still investigating who made the 911 call. He also did not know if Santiago lived at the apartment complex. Charging documents filed in April against Santiago listed his address at the time as 731 S. 300 East.

Both officers were wearing body cameras that were recording during the incident. Salt Lake police are required to release that video publicly within 10 business days.

Questions about what led up to the shooting and whether any words were exchanged before shots were fired were still being investigated Tuesday.

Santiago had a history of running from police, according to court records.

Most recently, he was arrested on July 28 when police attempted to stop him on a jaywalking violation and he ran, according to a Salt Lake County Jail report. Once he was stopped, officers found a baggie of meth on him, the report states. He was released early on the morning of July 29 due to jail overcrowding, jail records state.

On March 17, Santiago fled from police because he had a warrant out for his arrest, court records state. He was later charged with failing to stop at the command of an officer, a class A misdemeanor. But a warrant was again issued for his arrest on Monday for failing to show up for a scheduled court hearing in that case, court records state.

Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown works at the scene of an officer-involved shooting near 700 South and 300 East in Salt Lake City on Monday, Aug. 5, 2019.

Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown works at the scene of an officer-involved shooting near 700 South and 300 East in Salt Lake City on Monday, Aug. 5, 2019.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

In February, Santiago was charged in 2nd District Court in Weber County with failing to stop at the command of police, a third-degree felony, and pleaded guilty to the charge on March 28. A warrant was issued for his arrest on May 29 in that case for failing to show up for sentencing, according to court records.

Court records state Santiago also lived recently in California. His Facebook page lists San Bernardino and Rialto, California, as places he's lived.

On Facebook, Santiago's mother has posted messages of grief, stating that she loves her son and how she wants to hold him one more time.

For Salt Lake City police, this is their second fatal officer-involved shooting in three weeks.

On July 15, officers were called to the Sunrise Metro Apartment complex, 580 S. 500 West, on a report of a resident who was threatening staff. When officers arrived at 43-year-old Michael Anthony Brand's door, he opened it and immediately pointed what appeared to be a handgun at the officers in an aggressive manner. Brand was shot and killed by the officers. The weapon was later determined to be a paintball gun.

Contributing: Dan Rascon