VIDEO: Handcuffed Suspect Grabs Officer's Gun Before Being Fatally Shot
West Valley City, UT – West Valley City police have released shocking bodycam footage that captured the moment that a handcuffed suspect grabbed an officer’s duty weapon in the basement of city hall (video below).
The incident occurred on Aug. 23, after the West Valley City Police Department (WVCPD) received a report that a man who appeared to be “either intoxicated or high” was “causing problems” at a business near 2900 South Redwood Road, the Deseret News reported.
The woman who called 911 said that the suspect, later identified as 31-year-old Chad Michael Breinholt, was outside arguing with a woman he had been dating who worked at the business.
“He appears to be either intoxicated or high on something,” the witness told the 911 operator, according to the Deseret News. “He drove here, which is concerning. And now he’s still here in the parking lot causing a ruckus and he’s trying to get keys from her. She took the keys away.”
“He’s not okay,” the witness reiterated. “He’s stumbling. He’s slurring.”
Police placed Breinholt under arrest and transported him to the DUI processing area in the basement of city hall, the Deseret News reported.
Breinholt, who was handcuffed behind his back, was taken to a small office and told to sit in a chair while officers waited to obtain a warrant to draw a blood sample from him for toxicology testing.
At one point, he slipped off his shoe and held it behind his back, then claimed to have a gun inside it, the Deseret News reported.
One of the officers repeatedly instructed Breinholt to remain seated, as he persisted in his claim about the alleged gun in his shoe, bodycam footage showed.
“Tell ya what – give me your shoe,” one officer finally told him.
“No,” the suspect immediately replied.
As the officer pulled the suspect towards him, a second officer pried the shoe out of Breinholt’s cuffed hands.
But in the process, the suspect managed to reach his hands around his left hip from behind his body, and grabbed onto the initial officer’s duty weapon, bodycam footage showed.
“F--k! He’s got my gun!” the officer yelled, as he struggled to retain his weapon and back away from the Breinholt.
The second officer attempted to pull the suspect backwards in the confines of the small room, and a third officer rushed in to help quell the brawl.
“You’re about to die, my friend,” an officer warned, just seconds before one of them drew his weapon and fired a single round at point-blank range.
As the officers scrambled out of the office, Breinholt collapsed to the floor, bodycam footage showed.
A large pool of blood immediately spilled out around him.
“He’s dead,” one officer said, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.
According to police, Breinholt never managed to get the officer’s duty weapon out of its holster, the Deseret News reported.
Breinholt’s mother said that he had struggled with drug addiction since he was 17 years old, and that he had recently relapsed back into drug use.
“He was just good and kind-hearted and he just wanted to do good. He wanted to be a good person,” she said, according to the Deseret News. “He would never harm anybody. He wouldn’t do that. He was a good person.”
“This is a mental health issue,” she continued. “There needs to be awareness and support and help in this journey and this path for not only young men like Chad but for the families.”
West Valley City Police Chief Colleen Jacobs would not comment on whether a gun was located inside Breinholt’s shoe, and noted that her agency is not investigating the incident.
The Salt Lake City Police Department is handling the ongoing investigation into the officer-involved shooting.
You can watch bodycam footage of the officers’ encounter with Breinholt in the video below: