Deputies act in Nephi were justified in shooting, county attorney says

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NEPHI — On this Friday some more information was released by Juab County Sheriff Alden Orme regarding the messy run riot in his county created by two individuals involved in the murder of a deputy and hurting another in a frantic effort to escape.

On Jan. 30 a climatic gun battle on I-15 ended it all two weeks ago.

“You couldn’t create a more stressful situation,” Orme said.

Juab County Attorney Jared Eldridge gave legal justification to whatever the four deputies did in the shootout. The four deputies have been now given clean chit to resume their work. Jose Angel Garcia-Juaregui, 27, was shot by the deputies during the gun battle leading to his death on the next day.

Utah County Sheriff’s Sgt. Cory Wride was shot by Garcia-Juaregui in Eagle Mountain and killed followed by injuring sheriff’s deputy Greg Sherwood the same afternoon. The subsequent chase was spread out over 50 miles through two counties, and according to the investigations Garcia-Juaregui fired at least 10 times at four different locations.

Investigators released 911 calls, police radio recordings and dash-cam video from the deputies’ vehicles.

The videos showed how deputies chased Garcia-Juaregui and the teenage driver through a heavy snowstorm south on I-15 just past Exit 222 south of Nephi.

Eldridge entitled the video as “hair-raising.”

“The deputies did not hesitate even for an instant. They got out of their vehicles, they charged right into the face of danger. This man was pointing a gun at them and shooting, without even hesitation,” he said.

“They did exactly what we would hope officers would do in this situation. They demonstrated extraordinary valor and courage. I take my hat off to them. As I watch these videos, all I can say is that I’m awestruck at the courage they showed.”

Orme agreed that it is visible from the dash-cam footage that there was no reluctance.

“They knew the risks of the heavy traffic, heavy snowstorm. They know that there’s shots fired. And every one of them advanced and did what they needed to bring an end to the situation,” the sheriff said of his deputies.