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Man killed by task force officers attempting to arrest him on parole violations

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A woman who declined to give her name is consoled by others near the scene where a man was shot and killed by law enforcement officers on Fayette Avenue in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020. The woman had been trying to find out whether her brother was the man who was killed.

Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Members of the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force shot and killed a man they were attempting to arrest for parole violations Thursday.

Brandon Holt, chief deputy with the U.S. Marshal Service, addressed the media briefly Thursday night as protesters peppered him with their own questions.

“This afternoon, the Marshals Service led by the fugitive apprehension team was seeking a fugitive wanted for a parole violation,” Holt said. “Members of the task force observed him in the area of 1000 South Main Street. Officers confronted him. He ran on foot, produced a firearm, continued to run, commands were given to ‘stop, police’. He continued to flee.”

Holt said a K-9 unit was deployed.

“He brandished his firearm and was engaged by officers, and was fatally wounded,” Holt said. “He was a white male. That’s the only information we can give on his identity at this point.”

The shooting was reported around 6 p.m. near a strip mall that houses The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Palmer Court Branch, a restaurant, and a catering business. Palmer Court is a long-term housing unit owned by The Road Home, and it sits across the street from where the shooting took place.

Witnesses told reporters they heard “a lot of shots,” but Holt said he didn’t know how many shots were fired. It’s unknown if shots were fired by more than one officer and for which agency those officers work.

Holt said the warrant officers had for the man was for a parole violation reported by Adult Probation and Parole, whose officers work for the Utah Department of Corrections. He didn’t say what the specific violation or violations were.

The task force is made up of various members of local and federal law enforcement agencies, but Holt said of those involved Thursday night, he could only name Adult Probation and Parole, West Valley City and the U.S. Marshals Service.

Protesters shouted at Holt as he addressed the media, saying there was a woman there who believed the man killed by officers was her brother. She stood off to the side of the media briefing, fighting back tears. Holt talked privately with her after the briefing, which ended with him saying all of the information he had was preliminary as the investigation into the fatal shooting was just beginning.

The investigation into the shooting will be conducted by Unified police detectives. Holt said Salt Lake police officers were not involved in the incident, although they did come to the scene to provide basic security.

It’s unclear which agency provided the K-9 unit.

Protesters arrived at the scene shortly after the shooting, and were shouting and chanting outside the yellow police tape. They chanted and listed specific complaints, including the fact that a K-9 officer was used. Salt Lake police announced last week that they have suspended the use of their K-9 units in the arrest of suspects after video emerged of a Black man being repeatedly bitten by a dog under the direction of its handler, even after he raises his hands and gets on his knees as officers requested.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly said the Salt Lake City police department had suspended its K-9 program. Police are using K-9 units for drug and explosive detection, as well as tracking people, but will not use dogs in taking someone into custody until the internal investigation is complete.