County attorney: Layton officer's use of firearm was 'prudent'

Jun 7 2012 - 11:40pm

LAYTON -- The Davis County Attorney's Office has cleared a Layton officer involved in a shooting in March.

The Davis County Attorney's Office on Thursday released a letter, which was sent to Layton Police Chief Terry Keefe on April 24, regarding the investigation into the shooting that wounded Brian Lane Harris, 22, on March 21 at Quail Ridge Mobile Home Park.

Officer John Lynch was justified in shooting Harris, according to the letter.

"Given the facts presented at the time, officer Lynch made the correct decision to end the situation," Keefe said. "The proper use of force was verified following an extensive investigation."

Harris has been charged in 2nd District Court with second-degree felony discharge of a firearm with injury; class A misdemeanor failure to stop at command of police; class B misdemeanor commission of domestic violence; third-degree felony aggravated assault; and third-degree felony obstructing justice.

Two of the charges stem from the March 21 shooting incident. The last three charges regard a domestic violence incident at the same location in February, according to court documents.

A court hearing for Harris is set for June 18 in Farmington.

According to the letter, written by Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings, "the use of deadly force was provoked and necessitated by the criminal actions of Brian Harris. Officer John Lynch's use of his service weapon was a necessary and prudent response to the criminal actions and the very real danger of death or injury presented by the person and actions of Mr. Harris. Lawful force was used wisely."

Rawlings continues, "If officer Lynch had not acted quickly and decisively, we likely (would) have a larger tragedy on our hands. Brian Harris had already shot one person that day. Children were in the trailer Brian Harris was attempting to enter when fleeing from law enforcement."

After Harris was shot, he was taken to a local hospital and treated.

On March 21, Layton dispatch received a 911 call from a neighbor who could hear a woman screaming. While on the phone, the caller reported hearing what sounded like a gunshot. She then told dispatch she saw a white car speeding away from the area.

While officers were arriving at the scene, they received a call that a 22-year-old woman was at a local hospital with a gunshot wound to her leg.

That woman was later identified as Kayla Lane.

A Layton officer deployed a Taser two times on March 21, police said. The first attempt missed Lane, and the second did not stop him.

The officers were concerned the man, who had already reportedly shot one person, was headed back inside the home to get a gun or may have had a gun on him, police said.

The handgun was later found in a neighbor's yard.

According to the warrant of arrest document, police were called to the home Feb. 10 after Harris had pointed a 9 mm handgun at Lane. When officers found Harris, he did not have the gun on him and he denied owning a gun.

A witness later came forward and said Harris had "stashed the defendant's gun outside of the witness's residence following the Feb. 10 incident and the defendant retrieved the weapon the following day on Feb. 11."

When police were called to the home March 21, they were aware of the Feb. 10 incident and also knew there were children inside the home, according to the document.

"Officers identified themselves and ordered the defendant to stop and remain still," the document states, "but the defendant ignored those commands and attempted to flee on foot into the residence where the children were still present."

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