Police: Knife-wielding man shot by officer after ramming police vehicle, barricading himself in Utah

Posted at 4:27 PM, Jul 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-15 16:27:23-04

West Valley City, UT (KSL) -- A police officer shot a man after the man rammed his car into another officer’s vehicle before barricading himself inside a family member’s home on Sunday morning, officials said.

An officer noticed a person driving recklessly in an SUV near 3500 S. Decker Lake Drive about 6:10 a.m. Sunday, according to West Valley City Police Spokeswoman Roxeanne Vainuku. The person was driving so recklessly that at one point the SUV nearly flipped over, she said.

When the officer tried to pull the SUV over, the driver turned around and started heading straight toward the officer’s vehicle. The officer was able to partially evade the SUV, but still was hit, Vainuku said.

The driver of the SUV then started heading east down 3500 South with the officer in pursuit, she said. The SUV turned onto Shaffer Lane, just east of Redwood Road.

At the dead end of Shaffer Lane, the male driver of the SUV jumped out and went into a home, Vainuku said. She did not know if anyone else had been in the SUV.

Some of the man’s family members who were inside came out and told officers the man was making threats against them and himself, and was armed with a knife, she said.

More officers responded to the scene, along with a SWAT team, and they started trying to negotiate with the man inside, Vainuku said. Those attempts were unsuccessful, and eventually officers put pepper spray into the home.

The man came out at that point and had a knife, Vainuku said. He began trying to “engage” some officers, she said.

One officer used a taser on the man, but it did not have the desired effect, according to Vainuku. Another officer then shot the man with his gun at least once in the torso, she said.

The man was taken to a hospital and was checked out, but was being released and transported to the Salt Lake County Jail as of 12:30 p.m., Vainuku said.

No officers were injured during the incident, she said.

The man was later identified as Ricardo Jose Lopez, 28. Vainuku said he has an extensive violent criminal history, including a previous 2016 incident during which he was shot by a West Valley City police officer.

Vainuku said she did not immediately know what would happen to the officer who shot Lopez. She also did not know how many shots were fired.

Lopez does not live at the home on Shaffer Lane, but some of his family members do, Vainuku added.

He will be booked into jail for investigation of several charges, including assault on a peace officer, she said. Unified police are handling the investigation of the officer-involved shooting, Vainuku said.

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