ROY — The Roy Police Department says its officers won’t face criminal charges in the August shooting death of a 21-year-old Weber County man who fired at them, injuring a police dog.
The Davis County Attorney’s Office ruled the shooting justified, the police department said in a Thursday statement.
Aaron Michael Griffin, of Plain City, died in the exchange of gunfire, just a day after seeing a car crash in his town and helping to rescue the driver who had been thrown from her vehicle.
Roy police said Griffin was struck multiple times but have not specified how many.
Clips of body camera and patrol car video released by the police department Thursday show Griffin’s earlier encounter with an officer that day, in what appears to be a routine traffic stop. He was pulled over in a gray sedan about 2 a.m. on Aug. 8 because paper was partially covering his license plate.
The officer later discovered that Griffin’s passenger, Brian Joseph Cregg, 49, of Ogden, had given a false name, officer Joshua Taylor said in a video recounting the events.
The officer stops the car again a short time later and Cregg says he hadn’t run into trouble with Utah law enforcement before, the video shows. But the sedan pulled away, initiating a chase that was terminated a short time later “for safety,” Taylor said.
Police found the car a short time later in a field in Clinton near 2640 North and 1700 West, where they said Griffin got out of the car and began running.
In the body camera video, an officer in the field can be heard saying, “Stop I’m gonna send the dog. He will fight you. He will fight you, stop!”
The officer calls for medical help over a radio, saying his dog has been shot, and a short time later, six shots are heard ringing out. The K-9, named Mik, was struck in the face and is now recovering after surgery.
Master Officer Stuart Hackworth said the bullet that struck the dog matched the weapon Griffin used. Investigators later found the gun had been reported stolen.
As two other police cars arrive and drive near Griffin, the video shows, he is seen firing three times at a car that approached first, then three more times at another police car before it struck him.
“The second officer made a decision to try to stop Aaron by ramming him with his vehicle,” Taylor said, noting bullets from Griffin’s weapon struck the driver side windshield of the first car and the driver side headlight and license plate on the second.
Another clip of body camera footage from a short time later shows officers with their guns drawn ordering Griffin to show his hands as they scanned the tall grass before seven shots ring out.
Taylor said Griffin then pointed a gun at the officers, although the footage released Thursday doesn’t capture Griffin at that point. Griffin was struck multiple times, Taylor said.
Police arrested Cregg, who remained near Griffin’s car, for an alleged parole violation.
Griffin’s friend Laura Spencer told the Deseret News last month that he had relapsed on drugs and was contemplating taking his own life.
“He was tormented by his inability to control his addiction and did not want to disappoint his family any further,” she said.