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Man shot, injured by Unified police after fistfight

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A motorcycle is pictured in the road a members of law enforcement investigate an officer-involved shooting at 4500 South and 2300 East in Holladay on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

HOLLADAY — A Layton man who police said was a fugitive was shot by Unified police after a traffic accident, pursuit and fight that ended in gunfire Thursday.

Eric Pectol, 49, was in stable condition and expected to recover from his injuries after the shooting, according to Unified Police Sgt. Melody Cutler.

Salt Lake County Sheriff Rosie Rivera said a Unified officer was putting gas in his police vehicle at a Chevron on the southeast corner of 4500 South and 2300 East when he either heard or saw a traffic accident at the intersection. Pectol was riding a motorcycle that appeared to have rear-ended a truck. Leaving the motorcycle on its side in the street, Rivera said Pectol ran northeast from the crash site and the officer chased him.

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Eric Pectol

Salt Lake County Jail

Other officers responded to the intersection within minutes because there is a police substation just a few blocks away. Rivera said a foot chase with Pectol ended in a fistfight.

“When they did catch up to him, there was a fight,” Rivera said, speaking as the man’s shoes and other belongings littered the street where his motorcycle rested more than an hour after the shooting. “According to witnesses it was a pretty aggressive fight with the officers. The individual then bent down, picked up a gun that was on the ground, pointed it at the officers, and the officers fired at him.”

Rivera wasn’t sure if the gun belonged to Pectol, the officers or was just found on the ground, but one witness told police he heard the man say he had a gun.

One officer was wearing a body camera, River confirmed, and it did capture the confrontation. The footage will be turned over to Salt Lake police, who are investigating the shooting and what led to it, she said.

Cutler said Pectol is considered a fugitive by Adult Probation and Parole.

According to court records, Pectol was convicted of attempted murder and discharging a firearm from a vehicle in 2004 and sentenced to one to 15 years in the Utah State Prison. He was paroled, and then convicted of felony drug charges in 2014. He was paroled again, and then pleaded guilty in 2017 to new felony drug and theft charges stemming from a 2016 case.

Rivera wasn’t sure how many officers fired shots — or even who was involved. She said the department’s protocol is not to talk with the officers until after the agency investigating the incident questions them.

“What we’re doing right now is the protocol team will try to either interview the officers or get a statement from them,” Rivera said. “Once I find out who was involved, they will be placed on leave. Now sometimes there are witness officers that don’t necessarily get placed on leave, that is, but as of right now, I have not placed anybody on leave. ... Once they’re interviewed I can make that decision of who’s going to be placed on leave for this.”

There was a Granite School District bus behind the motorcycle when the crash, chase and shooting occurred. According to Granite spokesman Ben Horsely, there were five junior high special education students on the bus. The bus driver confirmed he saw the shooting.

A man at a nearby Jiffy Lube captured the shooting on video, which he shared with media outlets. In that video, only one officer can be seen, and there isn’t more than six or seven feet between the officer and the motorcyclist.

As police shut down roads feeding the intersection, some residents couldn’t get to their houses and several others were stuck in offices until police could escort them out of the area. One mother parked at an office complex and walked to her home with her children as police continued to process what was a very extensive crime scene.