FARMINGTON — A Syracuse police sergeant has been cleared of any criminal charges in connection with a fatal Clinton police shooting that took place in November.

The Davis County Attorney’s Office determined in December they would decline to prosecute Sgt. David Skinner of the Syracuse Police Department, according to a letter obtained via open records request.

In the letter, Skinner was the only officer listed that fired shots at 64-year-old Allen Scott Culpepper, a Clinton resident who had locked himself in his car with “multiple weapons,” according to police. A search warrant for Culpepper’s phone filed after the shooting indicated that both Skinner and Culpepper fired shots during the three-hour standoff.

Skinner was placed on paid administrative leave after the shooting.

The Davis County Attorney’s Office ruled that Skinner acted properly under Utah law and had a “reasonable belief that the use of deadly force was necessary to prevent death or serious bodily injury to fellow officers,” according to a letter signed by Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings.

Rawlings told the Standard-Examiner Tuesday that his office determined there would not be enough evidence to convict the sergeant of any wrongdoing, and thus would not be filing charges.

A statement made by police shortly after the shooting did not name Skinner, but said that he has over 15 years of experience in law enforcement. According to previous Standard-Examiner reporting, Skinner was named in 2013 as one of two sergeants to lead the Syracuse Police Department’s patrol division. 

Syracuse Police Detective Erin Behm told the Standard-Examiner Wednesday morning that Skinner returned to work at the department shortly after the county attorney's office made their determination. Skinner still serves as a sergeant in the patrol division of the SPD. 

Police in Clinton were dispatched to their own parking lot after a 911 hangup call was made around 11 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018, and was traced to a parking lot for the Clinton City Police Department.

Clinton officers quickly arrived and found an “emotionally distraught” Culpepper locked in his car with “multiple firearms within his reach,” according to a press release from Syracuse police shortly after the shooting. Officers from nearby agencies were called to the scene to assist. Police say that Culpepper had “multiple weapons” in the vehicle and refused to surrender the weapons to police.

After a three-hour standoff, police officers from multiple Davis County agencies went “hands on” with Culpepper before shots were allegedly fired by both Culpepper and Skinner, according to the search warrant for Culpepper’s phone. The warrant did not specifically say what “hands on” explicitly meant or how many shots were fired by either Culpepper or Skinner.

The warrant states that Culpepper was shot three times, which ultimately caused his death.

Culpepper allegedly had a “prior suicidal call history” with the Clinton Police Department, police said in a press release.

In total, police officers from Clinton, Syracuse, Kaysville, Layton and the Davis County Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene, according to the search warrant.

Jacob Scholl is the Cops and Courts Reporter for the Standard-Examiner. Email him at jscholl@standard.net and follow him on Twitter at @Jacob_Scholl.

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