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Bodycam video of police shooting at Pioneer Park shows man running toward officer with knife

Jay Hancock, KSL TV

“Put the knife down,” the Salt Lake police officer yells several times.

Moments later, just as the officer says, “Taser,” Rezek Yaqub Yahya, 39, is seen on video running at a full sprint toward the officer’s partner while still holding the knife.

The officer fires five shots. Yahya falls to the ground and is pronounced dead about 30 minutes later after Salt Lake firefighters, who were already on scene treating a woman that Yahya had just allegedly stabbed, attempted lifesaving efforts.

On Thursday, the Salt Lake City Police Department released body camera video from the fatal June 10 shooting at Pioneer Park.

About 8:35 a.m. on that day, a woman was stabbed in the arm and stomach.

“(She's) bleeding all over the place,” one caller told the 911 dispatcher.

The dispatcher then gives the bystander instructions about how to stop the bleeding until medical crews can arrive. The caller tells the dispatcher that the man who stabbed the woman was still in the park, sitting by a tree about 100 yards away.

The body camera video released Thursday starts with the officer involved in the shooting pulling up to the scene near 300 South and 300 West. He and another officer arrive at the park about 8:45 a.m. He passes the paramedics who are treating the woman and bystanders who helped her. They all pointed to Yahya, who was still by the tree.

As the officers start walking toward Yahya, one officer is heard saying, “Hey, he's got the knife in his hand.”

Yahya is seen in the video standing near a tree while holding the knife, not moving or saying a word.

“Yo, put the knife down,” the officer yells several times.

As the officers get closer, Yahya starts to walk toward them. At that point, one officer is heard saying, “Taser.”

But just as he does, Yahya starts running at the officer’s partner. As that partner is retreating, the other officer draws his gun and fires five shots. Yahya drops to the ground while initially still holding onto the knife. He falls within just a few feet of the other officer who had tripped and fallen.

“Let it go man. C’mon, I want to help you,” the officer pleads with Yahya to drop the knife.

As Yahya starts to lose consciousness, he drops the knife and the officers approach him. They put one of his hands in cuffs for protection but don't cuff the other hand after realizing he was “barely conscious,” as one officer is heard describing his condition on a police radio.

“C’mon buddy, please, I want to help you,” the officer tells Yahya when asking him to tell him where he is hit. But Yahya does not respond. Firefighters, who had just loaded the injured woman into an ambulance, ran over and began treating Yahya within two minutes.

According to Salt Lake police, the officer who Yahya was running toward was also wearing a body camera on that day, but “at this time it is unknown why the video did not record.”

The officer who fired the fatal shots remained on standard paid administrative leave Thursday pending a review by the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office, which will determine whether the shooting was legally justified.

Both Salt Lake Police Chief Mike Brown and Mayor Erin Mendenhall, who watched the body camera video, said they believe the officer had no other choice but to use deadly force.