FARMINGTON — More details have been released by Davis County officials regarding a fatal police shooting in November.
The Davis County Attorney’s Office made public their investigative report regarding the fatal shooting of Allen Scott Culpepper, a 64-year-old Clinton resident. The documents were made public to the Standard-Examiner through an open records request.
Culpepper was shot by Sgt. David Skinner of the Syracuse Police Department. The county attorney’s office ruled in December they would decline to press charges against Skinner and made the decision public in February.
The newly public report details the events leading to Culpepper’s death.
At 11:08 a.m. on Nov. 25, 2018, police dispatchers received a call from a man who said he was in the Clinton Police Department parking lot, and was heard crying before he hung up, according to the report. Dispatchers tried to call back, but the calls went to voicemail.
The report says that Clinton Police Sgt. Dick Murdock arrived on scene two minutes later and approached a man in a vehicle who appeared to be “waving him away.” As Murdock got closer, he saw a man, who they later identified as Culpepper, in the driver’s seat pointing a gun under his chin.
Minutes later, Murdock could be heard over his radio telling Culpepper to put the gun down. Shortly after, dispatchers got a call from a family member of Culpepper’s saying that she received a text from Culpepper saying he was going to harm himself and that his wife had his “final letter,” according to the report.
Thirteen minutes later, Murdock said over his radio that Culpepper had one gun in his hand and another on the seat. Over 45 minutes later, Culpepper unloaded a gun and gave it over to Murdock.
Multiple police units swarmed the area and more than two hours later, Murdock indicated over the radio that police and Culpepper had reached an impasse, and he was refusing to give up any ground. Over a dozen officers from multiple Davis County police agencies were listed as responding to the scene.
At 2:30 p.m., Murdock told Clinton Police Lt. Shawn Stoker that Culpepper wanted him to order Murdock to leave so “(Culpepper) can do what he wants to do.”
Over 20 minutes later, Stoker tells Murdock that they have a recording from a family member of Culpepper’s. Stoker told Murdock they couldn’t have the two talk on the phone, but the family member really wanted the message to get through to Culpepper.
Later, around 3:11 p.m., Culpepper again asked Stoker to order Murdock to leave so he could “shoot himself and end this.” Culpepper then moved to the passenger seat of his car.
At 3:33 p.m., over four hours after the standoff began, police started to assemble around the car to try and disarm and subdue Culpepper.
Murdock requested that one officer with lethal ammunitions and one with non-lethal munitions approach the car from the rear. Skinner was the officer equipped with bullets, and Clinton Police Detective Cody Butcher had “bean bags.”
Murdock told Culpepper several times to surrender before Murdock broke out the front passenger window and grabbed Culpepper’s arm, the report says. Butcher then called out “bean bag bean bag” and fired two non-lethal rounds at Culpepper. Murdock then lost grip of Culpepper’s arm, allowing the 64-year-old to grab a gun that was sitting on the dashboard.
Officer Jake Fowers then walked toward the vehicle to make contact, but saw the gun, yelled, and retreated backward.
Culpepper grabbed the gun on the dashboard and shot one round into his chest. Skinner, who was still behind the vehicle, fired two shots through the back window and hit Culpepper twice. The shots were reported at 3:37 p.m.
Medics on scene pulled Culpepper from the vehicle and performed life-saving measures before he died at the scene just before 4 p.m. Police secured the gun found in Culpepper’s car and recovered one bullet casing from the scene.
Skinner was placed on paid administrative leave following the shooting, and was cleared to return to work a little over a month later.
Before the report was made public Tuesday, much of the information available was based on a search warrant drafted after the shooting to search Culpepper’s phone. Police believed the phone would “contain information as to his mental state prior to and during the incident leading up to his death,” according to the warrant.
The document indicated that both Culpepper and the officer involved, who we now know was Skinner, both fired shots during the incident. It also stated that Culpepper was shot three times, which is consistent with the report released Tuesday.
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 later said 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.
Culpepper’s death took place during a 25-day span where four police shootings took place in Weber and Davis counties, three of which taking place in Ogden. The Weber County Attorney’s Office recently announced that officers involved in two of the shootings were cleared of any wrongdoing, while the office have yet to release a ruling on the third.