Utah authorities are defending the actions of four sheriff’s deputies and a police officer who fired 75 shots at an armed murder suspect fleeing in a stolen pickup truck last month.
The suspect, Arturo Ray Gallemore-Jimenez, 37, was shot three times in the Dec. 20, 2017, incident but survived the barrage of gunfire that included 27 shots fired by a SWAT officer armed with an automatic assault weapon, according to the Utah County Sheriff’s Office. Authorities said a bystander parked on the side of the freeway was shot in the shoulder by an errant bullet fired by law enforcement, and that another shot shattered the window of a family’s pickup truck driving on the interstate, just missing a 4-year-old.
The high-stakes confrontation erupted when Gallemore-Jimenez allegedly shot at deputies with a .38 caliber revolver after he was pulled over on Interstate 15, about 60 miles north of Salt Lake City, Sgt. Spencer Cannon told ABC News.
Cannon said it was vital that officers prevented the suspect from leaving the freeway and driving into highly populated areas.
“Had he gotten off the freeway into one of these areas it would have been a nightmare,” Cannon said.
The incident started about sundown when the sheriff’s office received a report that a man fired shots at a truck stop parking lot in Nephi, Utah, Cannon said. He said witnesses told deputies that the suspect shot out a window of his truck because he had locked his keys inside, then drove north on I-15.
The deputy went searching for the suspect’s truck and soon spotted it near a town called Spanish Fork and initiated a stop, Cannon said. After waiting for backup to arrive, the driver, later identified as Gallemore-Jimenez, was ordered to show his hands by sticking them out the driver’s side window.
Dash-cam video the sheriff’s office released this week shows Gallemore-Jimenez reaching back into the cab of his truck and emerging with a snub-nosed revolver, firing three shots.
Cannon said four deputies and a Spanish Fork Police Department officer opened fire as Gallemore-Jimenez drove away. Despite the rear tires of his truck being blown out, Gallemore-Jimenez continued down the busy freeway at about 30 mph with officers pursuing him and blocking off exits so he wouldn’t exit the freeway….