Investigators say three officers justified in fatal shooting of Layton man

Sunday , September 04, 2016 - 3:51 PM

MAKENZIE KOCH/Standard-Examiner Staff

DAVIS COUNTY — Investigators have determined that three Davis County officers’ use of deadly force in a Clearfield incident was justified. 

Chief Deputy Davis County Attorney David Cole said in letters dated Aug. 19 to each agency that an investigation by the Protocol Investigation Team determined that Davis County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Brooklyn Webb, Layton SWAT Officer Eric Smith and Clinton SWAT Officer Tyler Cunningham were justified in their fatal shooting of a Layton man on Wednesday, Aug. 3.

The letters were provided to the Standard-Examiner on Saturday, Sept. 3. 

Clearfield police officers chased 31-year-old Benjamin William Heaton, who was armed, after a Clearfield officer attempted to make a traffic stop late Tuesday evening, Aug. 2, according to a Clearfield Police Department news release.

The vehicle was reported stolen in South Ogden on July 31, Clearfield police Lt. Kelly Bennett said. Police said Heaton, who was driving, fled the scene on foot and climbed on the roof of a detached garage at 456 N. Fern Drive.

Davis County SWAT was dispatched to the scene due to threats made to officers, according to the release.

Heaton shot a number of rounds from his handgun during the negotiation process, repeatedly said he was going to shoot an officer and did fire a shot at officers, Bennett said.

Officers returned fire, and Heaton was killed early Wednesday morning, Aug. 3. 

Cole said in the letter that the three officers involved in the fatal shooting were justified because they acted within Utah Code, which says an officer’s use of deadly force is justified when “the officer reasonably believes that the use of deadly force is necessary to prevent death or serious bodily injury to the officer or another person.”

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