Seconds after he was shot by a suspected car thief Friday, a Utah police officer pulled out his gun and fired back – striking an innocent bystander twice.
The Unified Police Department justified the shooting by saying the bystander looked “extremely close” to the suspect.
They also said the innocent bystander was suspicious because the cop saw him running away.
But they later learned he was running away from the initial gunfire.
Police eventually captured the original suspect, Jeremy Bowden, 32, arresting him on charges of attempted aggravated murder as well as a number of drug and weapons charges.
Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder told the media that Bowden a “very violent offender” with a lengthy criminal history.
But Winder didn’t offer much information on Bowden’s 25-year-old doppelgänger, who was initially listed in serious condition.
According to KSL:
Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder confirmed Saturday that officer Cory Tsouras fired two rounds at a man he believed had just opened fire on him, striking the man twice and leaving him with injuries that were at one point considered life threatening, only to find out later it was the wrong person.
“We’re told his condition has improved significantly,” Winder said of the 25-year-old man who was shot. “Our deep sympathies go out to that family and to that individual.”
The man’s name was not immediately released. Winder said his office has been in constant contact with the man’s family, and said his wife has been “extremely kind and understanding.”
The Unified Police Department stated the following in a press release:
A Unified Police Officer located a stolen vehicle in front of the “Mouse Pad”, an internet café in a business complex on the northwest corner of 7200 S. State St. At some point the male suspect fled on foot westbound through a field and a business parking lot. A second UPD officer had pulled in to head off the suspect at the Rocket Express Carwash at 150 W. 7200 S. The suspect immediately fired multiple rounds at the UPD officer while he was still in his vehicle. Rounds impacted the UPD vehicle through the driver’s headrest, windshield, laptop, and side windows. The officer was also struck in the center of the chest, hitting his bulletproof vest, which stopped the round and saved his life.
During this time, a male tried to run into the car wash but was unable to get inside the building. The officer who had just been shot observed this individual and fired two rounds at him, striking him twice. Our officers immediately rendered life-saving medical aid to this individual, applying a tourniquet to his leg.
Most of the comments on the KSL article are in support of the officer, including the usual “we don’t know all the facts,” even though we know enough to see the cop shot an innocent bystander.
Some are saying that Bower should be charged with not only attempted murder of the cop, but attempted murder of the innocent bystander as well.
But nobody seems to be curious to see a photo of the innocent bystander so we can judge for ourselves if he really did look “extremely close” to the suspect.