Springfield, UT – The body armor-clad gunman who wordlessly opened fire on Utah County deputies during a traffic stop on Dec. 20, 2017, said he was “prepared to shoot officers” (video below).
Arturo Gallemore-Jimenez also told investigators he had created a “mental hit list” before his reckless spree, the Deseret News reported.
Dashcam footage of the incident and subsequent pursuit, which occurred on a busy section of interstate that stretched from Nephi to Orem, was released on Wednesday.
The events began at a truck stop in Nephi, when Gallemore-Jimenez, 37, locked his keys in his truck and became enraged.
Police said Gallemore-Jimenez reacted by shooting out the window out of the vehicle – which had been stolen in Kansas – and left the area at approximately 6 p.m., the Daily Herald reported.
Officers were called to the truck stop and began searching for the suspect and his vehicle, which was soon spotted traveling along I-15 near Springville.
The Utah County Sheriff’s Office (UCSO) dashcam video recorded as deputies and other law enforcement agencies initiated a traffic stop on Gallemore-Jimenez, who pulled to the shoulder of the roadway.
The officers were aware that the suspect had already used a weapon at the truck stop, but did not yet realize that he had also shot a man in the back in Colorado, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.
Gallemore-Jimenez initially complied with officers’ commands, and placed his hands outside the driver’s side window.
“Careful...” an officer said in the video as another officer cautiously came around the front of his patrol car.
Simultaneously, Gallemore-Jimenez pulled his hand back into his truck, then fired three rounds at the five officers on scene. All of them returned fire as the gunman sped away.
According to UCSO Sheriff Jim Tracy, police fired a total of approximately 50 rounds at the back of Gallemore-Jimenez’s vehicle in an attempt to prevent his escape, and several rounds punctured the suspect’s tires, the Daily Herald reported.
Nearly 1,600 feet away, a 21-year-old man had pulled over to the side of the road to add fuel to his vehicle, KUTV reported.
The bystander was hit in the shoulder either by an officer’s stray bullet or by a bullet fragment that ricocheted, Sheriff Tracy told the Deseret News.
The man was treated for his non-life-threatening injuries at a local hospital.
A round fired by police also went through the rear window of a Chevrolet Duramax that drove by, although nobody was injured.
Due to Gallemore-Jimenez’s deflated rear tires, the pursuit continued at only 30 miles per hour until the gunman neared an exit that led into Orem.
A deputy from the SWAT team then sped past the suspect vehicle to block Gallemore-Jimenez’s access to the highly populated area, but the gunman decided to attempt to exit the freeway anyway, the Daily Herald reported.
The deputy then fired 27 rounds at the suspect vehicle, hitting Gallemore-Jimenez in the arm and the back of his neck.
“We are not going to let that individual who we have already seen commit an attempted murder get back into the public and be lost from our chase,” Sheriff Tracy said.
The vehicle swerved and crashed into a fence before Gallemore-Jimenez ultimately got onto the ground and was arrested, the Deseret News reported.
He was wearing a ballistic vest, and police found multiple firearms in his vehicle, the Daily Herald reported.
According to the Deseret News, the gunman later told investigators that he was prepared to shoot any officer who would have approached his window.
"He stated he was pulled over in Springville and was prepared to shoot officers. He stated he believed God would have put that officer in (his) path to kill him," investigators said in an affidavit, according to the Deseret News. Gallemore-Jimenez also claimed that he made a "mental hit list."
“I was pleased our men were able to make those decisions in I believe a correct manner and use and apply the appropriate level of force to keep that individual from entering the public,” Sheriff Tracy said on Wednesday, according to the Daily Herald.
He also commended the officers for the split-second decisions they were forced to make.
“In those 5.5 or 6 seconds where the exchange of gunfire occurs, each of those deputies has to make their own decision about ‘What am I looking at? What have I seen? What am I justified legally to do in the prevention of this individual’s escape?’ and then act,” Sheriff Tracy explained. “Within that 6 seconds, they have to determine all of that.”
Despite their heroic actions, Sheriff Tracy said his deputies should have given more attention to their own personal safety, however.
“They exposed themselves too much in that first shooting location,” he told The Salt Lake Tribune. “The deputy that you saw in front of his own car was more exposed than he should have been. And he knows that.”
Investigators later learned that Gallemore-Jimenez allegedly shot a man in the back in Colorado the night prior and that he left the victim to die.
The unnamed man said that he and Gallemore-Jimenez were strangers before they bumped into each other near a hotel in Aurora, and that they smoked “either marijuana or methamphetamine” together before the man borrowed Gallemore-Jimenez’s pickup, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.
Approximately 90 minutes later, the victim went into a gas station, and returned to find Gallemore-Jimenez sitting in the truck.
The pair then drove to a nearby parking lot, where Gallemore-Jimenez stole the victim’s money and cigarettes. He then shot the victim as he tried to run away from the truck, and hit him near his shoulder blade.
The man was expected to live, Aurora Police Department Officer Ken Forest told The Salt Lake Tribune.
Gallemore-Jimenez was charged in Provo’s 4th District Court for three counts of attempted aggravated murder, failure to stop at the command of police, use of firearm by a restricted person, theft, two counts of possession of a controlled substance, and driving on a revoked license.
You can see a video of the gunfight below: