OGDEN -- The Weber County Attorney's Office has released video of the fatal shooting by police of a Roy man brandishing a golf club during a drug raid.
Todd Blair, 45, was shot three times by Weber Morgan Narcotics Strike Force Sgt. Troy Burnett Sept. 16 when Burnett led agents into Blair's home to serve a no-knock search warrant.
Blair had been under investigation by the strike force for several months, suspected of dealing methamphetamine and heroin.
The video of the shooting came from helmet cameras worn by Burnett and agents Jared Francom and Shawn Grogan. The videos were released Friday per a request from the Standard-Examiner under Utah's Government Records Access and Management Act.
The shooting is clearly seen on the video from cameras attached to the SWAT-style helmets worn by Burnett and Francom, with Grogan's view blocked as a group of five or more officers led by Burnett enter the residence, all with guns drawn.
The officers are heard yelling "Search warrant" and "Police" as they force entry. Within a few seconds, Blair appears on the other side of the front room with a 5-iron raised over his head. He is immediately shot.
The videos run for two minutes or more after the shooting as officers charge around the residence to clear it, ensuring there are no other threats in the home.
At one point an officer's voice is heard saying "Everybody out. This is a different crime scene now."
The videos shut off shortly after that command as the officers leave the residence and wait for investigators from the officer-involved homicide unit, a multi-jurisdictional task force headed by the County Attorney's Office.
Tauna Blair Doesberg, the younger sister of Blair who has been acting as family spokeswoman, said the family had not seen the video as of Friday afternoon. She said she was just informed Friday by the County Attorney's Office that information on the investigation, including the videos, was ready for her to pick up per her GRAMA request.
She is gathering the information for a Salt Lake City lawyer who is reviewing the case for a likely wrongful death lawsuit in federal court.
"I won't ever see the video," she said. "I don't ever want to see the video. I will just give it to the attorney."
Due to the graphic nature of the videos, the Standard-Examiner is choosing not to post them on the paper's Web site.
All three shots were fired by Burnett, officials have said from the outset. After reviewing the task force investigation of the shooting, County Attorney Dee Smith said on Oct. 19 he found no grounds for any criminal action against Burnett, ruling the shooting was justified. Burnett had already been cleared and returned to work after a suspension with pay by his parent agency, the Ogden Police Department.
Burnett's use of lethal force was justified under state law, Smith said in a news release, because force is justified if 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."
"Mr. Blair appeared in the living room with a golf club raised above his head and was advancing towards the officers in an aggressive manner," Smith wrote. "Sergeant Burnett fired three shots. All three shots struck Mr. Blair and caused his death."
In an interview Oct. 19, Smith said Blair and Burnett were close enough that Blair could have struck a possibly fatal blow and Burnett had to make a split-second decision.
"He didn't know it was a golf club," said Smith, describing the lighting as dim enough that Burnett could not tell that Blair was holding a 5-iron.
"He could see it was a long metal object and Mr. Blair was in a striking position, a batter's stance. The officer in that situation doesn't have to wait to find out what the object is, whether it's a sword or a baseball bat."
While a small amount of marijuana and drug paraphernalia were found in the home, no meth or heroin were found in the residence except for a small amount of meth found in Blair's pants pocket.
Burnett was involved, and cleared, in another officer-involved shooting in 2006. He and another officer, Aaron Hawes, shot and killed a white supremacist parolee named Billy Maw during a traffic stop after Maw pulled a gun on the officers.