A 38-year-old Hispanic man was shot dead by two Utah police officers on Feb. 21 outside a store in an incident that is under investigation and was recorded by a police body camera.
The officers arrived at the scene after a call from the store reporting a person wandering around and "acting suspiciously," according to a statement by authoties in Roy City, Utah.
In the video, Nicolás Sánchez is seen standing outside the store entrance as the officers approach. The officers, whose identities have not been released, inform him that they received a call regarding his behavior.
"Come over and talk to me for a second," one of the officers says.
"What do you want to talk about though?" Sánchez asks.
The officers repeat their request before Sánchez says, “What did I do though?”
Sánchez, who seems to ignore the police order, is told to remove his hands from his pockets, then raises his sweater to reveal what appears to be a pistol.
"You got a gun on you! Do not reach for it," one of the officers shouts as Sánchez turns and tries to run away.
"What? What are you doing dude?" Sánchez says, as they grab him from behind after only a few steps.
In the next few seconds, which cannot be seen clearly in the video, the agents start firing at Sánchez at close range.
Heather White, a lawyer for Roy's police department, told ABC News that there had been a number of cases of violence near the scene of the incident, which was why the store alerted authorities.
She justified the publication of the video last Friday to demonstrate transparency in the investigation.
According to White, the two officers shot the suspect, one of them with Sanchez's own gun. "Police are authorized to use any means necessary in such a situation including deadly force," the attorney said. "It's not limited to another person's gun, they can use a tire iron if they have to."
“At one point, the officer trying to wrestle the gun from Sanchez’ hands saw the gun pointing at his face,” the statement said. "It was clear to the second officer that his partner’s life was in imminent danger, and he began firing at Sanchez ... The first officer was then able to take Sanchez's gun and shot him with it."
Following the publication of the video, Annette Olsen, a friend of the deceased, criticized the police action. Olsen, who considered Sánchez "my son," said that he "never threatened anyone with the weapon. It was for his personal protection and he would never have used it against anyone."
Sánchez, who lived for the past three years with Olsen, had an "extensive criminal history" and lost his right to carry a gun as a convicted felon, White said.