Enoch, UT – An Enoch police corporal who shot a female burglary suspect in the leg after she swung a screwdriver at another officer twice, and refused repeated commands to drop her weapon, was found to have acted within the department’s policy, a committee of Enoch officials ruled on Tuesday (video below).
Conversely, the Iron County Attorney’s office determined on Monday that Epoch Police Corporal Jeremy Dunn was “not justified” in shooting 29-year-old Ivonne Casimiro, but said that the officer would not be criminally charged because prosecutors do not believe they could prove criminal intent, The Spectrum reported.
The incident occurred at approximately 11:30 a.m. on June 28, when multiple agencies responded to a report of three people breaking into vehicles in the Parowan Travel America truck stop parking lot.
Parowan Police Sergeant Mike Berg arrived at the scene alone and made contact with the suspects. As he approached Casimiro, he told her to remove her hands from her pockets, the sergeant wrote in is report, according to The Spectrum.
According to Sgt. Berg, Casimiro then took two swipes at him with a screwdriver, at which point he retreated to a safer position and drew his weapon, holding the belligerent woman at bay.
The sergeant then notified dispatch about the attack and waited for backup to arrive.
When Cpl. Dunn arrived at the scene, he immediately directed Casimiro to drop the screwdriver, bodycam footage showed.
“Well, I would say it’s a good idea to but a screwdriver down, right?” he asked Casimiro, as she stood next to a second burglary suspect, 34-year-old Jose Flores.
“Why? What am I doing?” Casimiro countered before she began arguing incoherently.
“Well, I’m gonna talk to you, but I don’t want this guy next to you getting hurt, so I’m going to have you come talk…”
“No,” Casimiro interrupted. “He’s not going nowhere.”
Cpl. Dunn again attempted to convince the suspects to separate, but continued to meet resistance.
“I’m worried that maybe she’s gonna hurt you with that,” he cautioned Flores.
Casimiro then spun away from the officers and appeared to intend to leave the area.
“You’re not free to leave, you’re not free to leave,” Cpl. Dunn told her.
“Let’s go. Go ahead and blow,” she responded, briefly walking back towards to corporal.
“You come at me with that knife, I guarantee I’ll smoke you — I guarantee it, OK? You want this to happen? I’d get back if I were you,” he warned the belligerent woman.
“Trust me, I can never, never die,” Casimiro responded dismissively. “Go ahead – blow. I wanna see.”
Corporal Dunn again directed Flores to move back.
“I just don’t want you to get in the way,” he warned him.
“I can take her out like last time,” Cpl. Dunn said, referring to a similar incident in 2012 during which he wounded a knife-wielding man who was moving towards him and Sgt. Berg in a “threatening manner,” The Salt Lake Tribune reported.
“You want me to take her out like last time?” he asked.
Cpl. Dunn then deployed his Taser, which had no effect on the argumentative woman, the video showed.
“Did it work? Did it work?” Casimiro taunted the corporal. “Did it work, n----r?...I don’t think so.”
“Okay, that’s all I’ve got for Taser,” Cpl. Dunn said, backing away from Casimiro.
“Drop the screwdriver!” Sgt. Berg commanded, but Casimiro’s attention remained fixed on the corporal.
“What’s up?” she asked him, raising the screwdriver in her right hand and shuffling her foot in his direction.
Cpl. Dunn then fired three rounds at her legs, two of which struck her in the right knee, the New York Post reported.
Casimiro dropped to the ground and was eventually taken into custody.
“She’s got more stuff – more weapons in her pocket,” Cpl. Dunn announced as he secured Casimiro’s handcuffs and placed a tourniquet on her leg.
Casimiro was transported to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries, The Spectrum reported.
She was subsequently charged with two counts of vehicle burglary, possession of a stolen vehicle, assault against a peace officer, and interference with an arresting officer.
Flores was charged with two counts of vehicle burglary and possession of a stolen vehicle.
The third suspect, later identified as 24-year-old Michael Salvador Torres, fled the scene when officers arrived and was arrested later in the day. He was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of a controlled substance, theft, possession of a stolen vehicle, and vehicle burglary.
“Nationwide, police officers deal with millions of calls per year and very few of those interactions with the public end up in a shooting," Enoch Police Chief Jackson Ames told The Spectrum. "Police officers have a difficult job to do and they go into it knowing that.”
The city officials’ report indicated that Cpl. Dunn “chose to incapacitate the female suspect using lethal force in a nonlethal manner,” by shooting her in her legs as opposed to center-mass, NBC News reported. He knew he had a tourniquet and planned o nbeing able to stop any bleeding.
But Iron County Attorney Scott Garrett argued that Casimiro presented no “imminent threat of harm” to the officers because she did not charge at them and did not attempt to flee, the New York Post reported.
He said that Cpl. Dunn had “mentally purchased” a plan to shoot the belligerent woman because he was aware she was armed and that she had attempted to assault Sgt. Berg.
“It appears that the situation was manageable at the time Corporal Dunn arrived and it would have seemed reasonable for officers to continue de-escalation tactics until the situation could be more fully contained,” Garrett claimed. “Corporal Dunn was only on scene for three minutes before firing shots.”
Cpl. Dunn was found to be in violation of city policy by simultaneously drawing both his firearm and his Taser, Enoch City Manager Rob Dotson told the New York Post.
Consequently, the entire four-man police department will receive additional Taser training.
Cpl. Dunn will remain on administrative leave until all other involved agencies – including the city’s insurance carrier and the Utah Department of Public Safety – have completed their investigations into the incident.
You can watch bodycam footage of the altercation in the video below: