Police in Roy City, Utah, shot and killed Nicolás Sánchez, 38, outside of a filling station. While the shooting occured on February 21, bodycam video of the incident has only now become available.
According to police in Roy, two officers were called to the scene after receiving reports of trespassing. The clerk at the gas station had called and reported that Sanchez was “acting suspiciously.” Police says the officers arrived to the location and became involved in a struggle with Sanchez. During this struggle, police say, officers disarmed Sánchez but then shot him with the suspect’s gun. Sanchez allegedly had a long criminal history in Utah and California and had just ended federal probation.
Body-camera footage captured more than a dozen bullets fired in fracas. Friends and relatives claim that Sanchez was never a threat and that the shooting was “in cold blood.”
In the video, an officer orders, “Come over here and talk to me,” who then adds, “Or do you just want to be arrested right now? It’s your choice.”
“What do you want to talk to me for, though? What did I do?” Sanchez replies. The officer says, “We got called on you.”
Sanchez then lifted up his sweatshirt and said he did not have anything. An officer said that he could see that he was armed. “Do not reach for your pocket,” the officer commanded. Then one of the officer charged Sanchez, initiating a chase and confrontation. A dozen shots were then fired in quick succession.
Shouting “do not move,” stood around Sanchez as he lay on the pavement.
While it is difficult to see how the shots were fired, police spokesperson Heather White told the Guardian newspaper of the UK that it was first one officer who fired shots at Sanchez, thus allowing the second officer who was wrestling with the suspect to knock his pistol loose. The second officer then seized Sanchez’s gun and fired at him with it while Sanchez was unarmed. White said that the officer was worried that Sanchez may have had another weapon and that the officers behaved reasonably under the circumstances.
The officers remain unnamed and remain on paid administrative leave. A statement from the police said that they suffered minor scrapes and scratches.
Sanchez grew up in Placentia, California, but moved to Utah to turn a new leave. After serving time in prison, he was recently released on parole. He was working full-time as a forklift operator at a warehouse. He was the father of two teenage daughters.