ROY -- Police officials do not anticipate filing criminal charges against a 17-year-old girl who shot and killed a man who was strangling her aunt Thursday night.
At a news conference Friday, Police Chief Greg Whinham said 37-year-old John F. Sharp was choking his girlfriend, 32-year-old Mellony Pursel, at their home located at 1920 W. 4400 South when the 17-year-old girl picked up a gun and told Sharp to stop what he was doing. When Sharp turned and came toward the girl, she shot him twice in the chest. The two bullets traveled through Sharp and hit Pursel in the arm.
Sharp died before police arrived at the home. Pursel was taken to a local hospital where Whinham said she is expected to recover from the wounds.
Sharp and Pursel had lived together at the home with Pursel's niece and the niece's 7-month-old child. The niece was living with Pursel while her husband is on active duty with the military.
Sharp and Pursel were separated, Whinham said, and he came to the home to try to reconcile about 4 a.m. Thursday. Pursel asked Sharp to leave. Roy police were called to keep the peace and help Sharp get in touch with family members who could provide support.
Sharp returned again at 9:24 a.m. He went into the home and began destroying property, breaking electronics and dumping out drawers. Police were called to the home again, and when officers attempted to arrest Sharp, he began to run. He was taken into custody a short distance away from the home and was booked into Weber County Jail just after 11 a.m. on domestic violence and criminal mischief charges.
Sharp was bailed out of the jail just after 5 p.m. He was taken by family members to a family home in the area.
"There was a process where they were able to get him home, where he would have all the things he needed," Whinham said. "At that location, he became more aggravated and violent and left."
None of the family members was injured during that confrontation. They notified police of Sharp's behavior after the incident.
Whinham said that after Sharp left the family home, he immediately returned to Pursel's home and forced his way in. He confronted Pursel and began to choke her. The 17-year-old was in the upstairs living room with the couple and her child, who was sitting in a baby carrier on a couch.
When the teen saw the fight, she retrieved a .357 revolver, told Sharp to stop, and when he turned to come after her, she fired the two shots.
Whinham said he is unsure who owned the gun.
No prior history
Sharp had no prior history of domestic violence or violence toward women, Whinham said.
After police arrived, they moved Pursel, the 17-year-old and the baby to a nearby convenience store while they secured the home. Officers found Sharp dead in the living room.
"There were things in place for John," Whinham said. "His family members were there for him. There was every effort made by law enforcement to help him have time to cool off. His mental state, I can't speak to. But it clearly progressed during a very short period of time from 4 o'clock in the morning, where there is no violence, just a desire to go back to the home, to the death of an individual who was attacking another."
Whinham said the case is still under investigation, but police have no reason to believe criminal charges will be filed against the teenager because she was acting in self-defense.
Whinham said police did everything they felt they could do in a domestic situation that is an all-too-common occurrence.
"This is something that we do far too often," he said. "The reality of it is that we did everything that we could. In discussion with his family members, they've done everything that they could do. The behaviors that he chose to engage in yesterday were his alone to choose. Any way you look at it, it's a tragedy."