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Utah Police Fatally Shoot Decorated Army Veteran After Responding to Medical Call

The police report claims the 28-year-old Purple Heart recipient pointed a gun at officers, but the deputy who shot him had his body camera turned off.
December 30, 2014, 8:26pm
Photo by Robert Kuykendall

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Police in Tooele County, Utah shot and killed a US military veteran and Purple Heart recipient early Sunday morning. US Army Sgt. Nicholas McGehee, 28, was fatally wounded on his front lawn after allegedly pointing a handgun at police who responded to a 911 call placed by the veteran's wife.

According to Utah's Deseret News, the police report on the incident says McGehee and his wife were arguing when officers arrived responding to her call, which was reportedly made because McGehee had injured his foot on broken glass.

Tooele County Sheriff Frank Park said in a statement that McGehee came out of his house carrying a shotgun, then returned indoors and emerged again carrying a handgun, which he pointed at the officers — a deputy and a highway patrol officer. The deputy fired three shots, although it's unclear how many times McGehee was struck.

"The deputy gave him verbal commands to put the gun down, and he didn't," Park said. "[McGehee] raised the gun, aiming at the deputy, and the deputy shot him."

The police report has come under scrutiny because the deputy who fired the fatal shots was wearing a body camera, but it was turned off. The deputy — whose name has not been made public — has reportedly been placed on administrative leave. The sheriff said the camera was off because medical calls are not recorded under the department's protocol, and the situation allegedly escalated too quickly for the officer to switch it on.

McGehee's father told the Salt Lake__Tribune that his son, who was working as a military recruiter, had PTSD following two tours in Iraq. He expressed disbelief that his son would act in the way police described. "I had never seen him pull a gun on anyone. I don't know what the deal was," said Russell McGehee. "I don't know why he would have done that."

The Utah Department of Public Safety's State Bureau of Investigation is reviewing the incident.

Image via Flickr