Didn't see this posted before... sorry if its a dupe!
Thursday, March 16, 2006
Man unarmed when shot by trooper?
By Pat Reavy
Deseret Morning News
The man shot by a Utah Highway Patrol trooper after a high-speed chase in Carbon County was unarmed and walking backward with his hands in the air when he was shot in the back, authorities said.
"It appears as though it was an accidental discharge," said Carbon County Sheriff James Cordova.
John Gourno, 29, was reportedly in stable condition at a Salt Lake hospital Wednesday. The bullet from the trooper's M-14 rifle entered his back and exited through his stomach, Cordova said.
Gourno and Audie Barnes, 29, both from Ohio, had just stopped their car — reported stolen out of Ohio — on I-70 Sunday evening outside of Price after leading several UHP troopers on a chase with speeds reaching 100 mph.
Their car stopped as it was about to hit spikes put on the road by troopers ahead of the chase and a felony stop was initiated.
The driver, Barnes, complied with the trooper's orders and got out of the vehicle. He walked backwards 20 to 30 feet with his hands in the air and was handcuffed when he reached the troopers, Cordova said.
Gourno then got out of the car and also began walking backwards. By this time it was dark outside, said UHP Lt. Doug McCleve.
"The suspects were both in compliance (with the trooper's orders)," Cordova said.
The shooting was recorded on a UHP trooper's dashboard camera. Cordova said the investigation was still ongoing as detectives needed to interview Gourno.
The chase started after two men robbed the Comfort Inn in Green River at gunpoint. A gun was displayed during the robbery but not pointed directly at the clerk, according to the Emery County Sheriff's Office.
"He kept saying he didn't want any trouble and the clerk gave him $245," according to a statement from the Emery County Sheriff's Office.
Shortly after the men drove away, the clerk called 911 and a UHP trooper spotted Gourno and Barnes' car going from I-70 to U.S. 6.
Both men have extensive criminal histories, Cordova said.
"They're not model citizens by any means," he said.
Although the men apparently did nothing to prompt the shooting after they got out of the car, Cordova said they put themselves in a precarious situation by allegedly robbing a motel at gunpoint and then leading troopers on a long chase.
The search for the gun used in the robbery continued Wednesday.
Meanwhile, UHP trooper Ed Bentley, who has been with the department for more than three years, remained on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of a standard internal investigation.
"We support (Carbon County's) findings up to this point and appreciate their investigation," McCleve said. "We're not done yet. We still have a long way to go with what we need to do internally. We'll continue looking at what evidence is out there."
McCleve said all the circumstances from the time the call was put out to locate the vehicle to when the shot was fired will be looked at. Some of those factors that might play a role include the tenseness of the situation as well as the shooting death of an Oregon man who fired at officers first and even the 1993 death of UHP trooper Dee Lund, who was shot and killed by two juveniles who led him on a high speed chase on I-70 near Green River.
"This is about as dangerous a situation as our troopers will ever be in," he said of Sunday's incident.
"We want to make sure we analyze everything completely and thoroughly so we make the right decision," he said.
someone was profeshunul out there
From a M-14, nonetheless. Yowsah!
Still, when you lead cops on a high-speed chase, getting shot should not suprise you.
Got shot in the back with a M-14 and the round exited his stomach?? I'm thinking the perp should be dead if it really was a M-14.
It's been a while, but I think Utah SP carry MINI-14's.
That's called negligence.
The safety on teh M14 is turned on by pressing the front of the trigger guard. Maybe the trooper pressed the trigger rearward instead of the safety. But the bottom line is don't rob someone, threaten with a gun, run from the cops, etc...