Officer with automatic rifle ends pursuit. Click to see video.
AUTHOR: Kristy Muir
Tuesday, August 27, 2019
UTAH COUNTY — The Utah County Sheriff’s Office released dash camera footage Wednesday from two of their vehicles that shows a post-ban converted automatic rifle shooting on I-15 that happened just days before Christmas last year. Law enforcement was forced to end the chase with an automatic rifle burst to the moving vehicle.
Part I: background
Part II: the shooting
Police were alerted to be on the lookout for a white pickup truck after an incident occurred at a Nephi truck stop. A man had reportedly been selling items out of his truck to make money for gas when he locked himself out of his vehicle. He then shot through the back window to gain access. He was located driving on I-15 in Springville a short time later and was pulled over.
Sheriff Jim Tracy said his four deputies and one Spanish Fork officer had about five to six seconds during their traffic stop to assess the situation and act; that is all the time suspect 37-year-old Arturo Gallemore-Jimenez gave them before he fired his pistol.
“Incredibly, not one of our vehicles or one of our officers were hit with any bullets,” Sheriff Tracy said.
Gallemore-Jimenez fired three rounds at law enforcement on December 20th around 6:35 p.m., and deputies fired back around 50 rounds. They managed to shoot out the suspect’s back tires, but Gallemore-Jimenez took them on a 30 mph pursuit from where they stopped him on I-15 in Springville (about a mile before the 1400 N exit) to the University Parkway exit in Orem. For nine miles, deputies followed Gallemore-Jimenez and blocked other civilians from the pursuit. Ultimately, the deputy who was shot at passed the others, pulled off at the University Parkway exit with a Utah Valley University officer and waited with an automatic weapon for Gallemore-Jimenez to pass him.
“We’re not going to allow the individual to get back into the public with his mindset,” Tracy said, while explaining actions taken in the video.
Gunfire from police hit the vehicle, and Gallemore-Jimenez loses control, crashing into a fence. Deputies and officers from multiple agencies quickly surrounded him. He was shot through the right forearm and in the back or side of the neck, but survived. He is currently behind bars in Salt Lake County.
“He was willing to use a weapon to get away from anything and everything that was, you know, bothering him or that he was running into that night,” Tracy said.
Sheriff Tracy said there were a few issues with the incident. Some stray bullets caused a problem.
Approximately 1,600 feet north of the original traffic stop, a man in his pickup truck was pulled over in the emergency lane. He had ran out of gas, so he was filling up his tank.
The man was sitting in the bed of his truck to avoid getting hit by cars, but was hit in the shoulder by a stray bullet from law enforcement. Sheriff Tracy said it is clear in the dash camera footage that deputies could not see this man from where they pulled over Gallemore-Jimenez. The victim is reportedly recovering without life-altering injuries.
Another bullet went through the back window of a vehicle passing by. Inside the vehicle was a mother, father, and their four children. None of them were injured.
Sheriff Tracy said there were tactical errors, including the positioning of the deputy who attempted to approach Gallemore-Jimenez during the traffic stop. Tracy said he exposed himself too much and has been spoken to about how he could respond more safely.
Tracy also spoke about the number of rounds fired. He said he realizes that 50 sounds like a lot to the general public, but he explained that for the five responding law enforcement officers each individually making a decision, it makes sense.
Tracy said, adding he stands by their decisions and believes their response was appropriate.
Tony Pustovarh, who owns Anthony’s Firearm Warehouse and also owns a machine gun business, said this when asked for a comment…
“If you shoot at others then don’t be surprised when bullets start flying in your direction.” Tony said. “The police have a duty to protect, by any means necessary, and that means exactly what it says.” Tony added.