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Orem woman was shot in jaw, ‘covered in blood,’ new report says

Orem police tight-lipped about conflicting info regarding officer firing weapon

SHARE Orem woman was shot in jaw, ‘covered in blood,’ new report says
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Police investigate an officer-involved shooting near 1600 North just off I-15 in Orem after a string of incidents including a pursuit, a hit-and-run, and a shot fired on Friday, May 8, 2020.

Adam Sotello, Deseret News

OREM — Samantha Bencomo and Julia Jones weren't legally supposed to be hanging out together on Friday when Jones was shot in the jaw, possibly by an Orem police officer.

On Friday, Jones, 24, was a passenger in a pickup truck being driven by Bencomo, 28, who police say was trying to avoid them. After an Orem police officer pulled in front of Bencomo’s vehicle at the intersection of 800 North and 800 West, Bencomo backed up the truck and accelerated quickly, according to a police affidavit.

“As Samantha is accelerating, she swerves the truck toward the Orem police officer. As the officer sidesteps to avoid being hit, Samantha changes the direction of the truck toward the officer in a clear attempt to run him over,” the affidavit states. “The officer was able to jump to the side but the front passenger side of the truck still struck him.”

The officer was not seriously injured. Orem police acknowledged that an officer’s weapon was fired during the event, but have never mentioned Jones, who was shot during the incident.

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Julia Jones, 24, was shot in the jaw by an Orem police officer, according to her family.

Family photo

Jones, of Orem, is not mentioned in a police booking affidavit describing events that led to Bencomo’s arrest, either. The fact that an officer fired a weapon is also not included in that report. On Friday, when asked if anyone had been shot, Orem Police Lt. Nick Thomas said, “We’re not releasing that.” But when asked if anyone was hospitalized, he said, “No.”

“I’m glad the officer’s OK. I’m glad everybody’s OK,” Thomas told reporters.

Yet a probation violation report on Bencomo filed by Adult Probation and Parole says shots were fired and Jones was hospitalized after being hit in the jaw.

“Shots were fired at the vehicle and it continued to flee after going through fences and destroying public property. The female passenger ... exited the vehicle covered in blood and the female driver continued to flee,” the report states. “Julia Pearline Jones was transported to a local hospital with a gunshot wound to her lower jaw.”

The report says Bencomo, of Nephi, and Jones are married, but both are on felony probation for convictions of drug distribution and “as per their court ordered probation, they are to have no contact with one another until they are both in treatment.”

Jones’ stepmother told the Deseret News that Jones had recently moved back home and was in the process of divorcing Bencomo and getting her life back in order, but “made a bad choice to see Sam” on Friday.

Jones’ parents have expressed frustration about how Orem police have handledthe officer-involved shooting, particularly with the fact there has been no public acknowledgment that their daughter was shot.

“We’re very frustrated. Nobody is even acknowledging she was even there,” Laura Jones said. “We understand that mistakes happen. We just want them to acknowledge it was a mistake. We’re not looking to end anyone’s career. Just acknowledge what happened.”

Orem police have declined all comment until a press conference scheduled for Wednesday.

Laura Jones said her stepdaughter is expected to be in the intensive care unit for about a week, and will then remain in the hospital as part of her recovery for a lengthy period after that. She said she was told her daughter will be “in custody” once she is moved to the general population of the hospital, though she doesn’t know what charges she would be held on.

The probation report indicates that Jones being with Bencomo would be at least one violation of her probation.