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Utah officer justified in shooting, wounding man

Published August 29, 2014 5:55 pm

Investigation • Timothy James Peterson had facsimile of a gun.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office has ruled that a West Jordan police officer who shot and wounded a man in July was legally justified in using deadly force.

A report issued Friday cleared officer Ian Adams in the July 10 shooting of 32-year-old Timothy James Peterson at the Jordan Landing shopping complex.

Peterson was carrying a metal bar that was bent in the shape of a handgun, which had a red laser taped to the "barrel," the report said.

When Peterson drew the facsimile weapon, Adams felt his life was in danger and fired at Peterson, who has since been charged with second-degree felony assault against a police officer, and misdemeanor counts of unlawful possession of a dangerous weapon and failure to stop at the command of law enforcement.

A scheduling hearing for Peterson is set for Sept. 2 in West Jordan's 3rd District Court.

According to the district attorney's report, events leading up to the shooting include that:

• Peterson had called and sent texts to his estranged wife, in violation of a protective order, then showed up at her house but left before police arrived.

• Peterson posted on his Facebook page that he was upset at his wife for calling police. He also posted threats to shoot officers if they came after him and said it did not matter if "I get shot by the cops."

• West Jordan officers, including Adams, were briefed about Peterson's threats, and they reviewed a photo and physical description of the man.

At about 12:30 a.m. on July 10, Adams was patrolling at Jordan Landing when he saw two men walking and thought one of them looked like Peterson.

When Adams stopped, Peterson ran.

Adams chased Peterson, who turned and began to draw what Adams described as a handgun.

The object "flashed silver, red then silver and red again," the report states. When Peterson raised his hand and pointed the object at Adams, the officer fired his weapon until Peterson went to the ground.

Peterson was released from the hospital about five days later.

Peterson, listed in recent court records as a resident of Bluffdale, had warrants out for his arrest in two misdemeanor cases in the West Jordan Justice Court.

In one case, he had pleaded innocent to use or possession of drug paraphernalia and disorderly conduct. In another, he had pleaded innocent to charges of DUI and use or possession of drug paraphernalia.

According to Utah court records, Peterson entered into a plea in abeyance last October on a charge of violating a protective order. Court records show his estranged wife, who filed for divorce last April, filed a protective order against the man in early 2014.

shunt@sltrib.com