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Ex-officer charged with assault for firing shots at burglary suspects

By Mark Shenefelt - Standard-Examiner | Sep 14, 2021

Photo supplied, Adobe Stock

FARMINGTON — The Davis County Attorney’s Office on Tuesday filed two aggravated assault charges against a former Woods Cross police officer for firing shots at burglary suspects last February.

Joshua John Lindsey, 39, of Kaysville, was fired in August after an internal investigation determined he improperly used deadly force in the Feb.7 incident, Woods Cross Police Chief Chad Soffe said.

A car carrying two suspects was driving toward Lindsey so he fired three shots, according to police reports at the time.

“In the interview, he said he told them to stop and they appeared to be coming toward him and he felt like he was going to be run over,” Soffe said. “But the subsequent investigation showed the vehicle was actually backing up.”

Soffe said Lindsey admitted in the investigation that he fired a fourth shot at the car, “trying to pop the tire” as it was driving away. The chief said it’s against policy for an officer to shoot at a fleeing vehicle unless it is heading toward and endangering people.

The two charges against Lindsey are third-degree felonies. A conviction could bring a prison sentence of up to five years, although many such cases result in jail time or probation for first-time offenders.

Attempts to contact Lindsey were not immediately successful. He had no attorney of record as of Tuesday afternoon. Prosecutors prepared a summons for a judge’s signature ordering Lindsey to appear in court on the charges.

The shooting occurred at Manheim Auto Auction, where Soffe said police had been watching because of car and metal thefts. Lindsey was at the lot checking for suspicious activity when he came upon the car with two men inside.

The suspects were arrested in Salt Lake County after a high-speed chase. Neither one was hit by the shots Lindsey fired.

In charging documents Tuesday, county prosecutors said Lindsey fired four shots from his 9mm Glock duty handgun “while charging at a vehicle … trying to maneuver away from him. “Fortunately for all concerned, the defendant’s shots hit the vehicle and missed the victims inside.” The criminal case was investigated by a Centerville police officer.

Soffe said Lindsey had been on the Woods Cross force for two years.

“Our position is he’s been a good officer,” Soffe said. “He made a poor choice early that morning.”

He said Lindsey’s actions violated city police policy “and we felt it was necessary to follow through” with termination.

The chief said commanders conducted an extensive training class for officers, including reviewing body camera footage from the incident. The department’s policies of use of deadly force remain, “and now we’ve gone over it with everybody as a refresher.”

Soffe said Lindsey was put on leave pending the investigation and he was never returned to duty before his dismissal. The chief said he knew criminal charges being filed against Lindsey “was highly possible,” given the results of the investigation.

“We take a look at these investigations very seriously,” Soffe said. “It is a serious matter when an officer shoots his gun.”

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