RIVERDALE — An investigative report regarding a police shooting in Riverdale suggests that a man shot by police was putting down the gun a fraction of a second before he was shot by an officer on May 23.
The full report also indicates that once police were inside the man’s apartment and began to tend to his wounds, the man told police he was “going to put it down” just before he was shot. The man, later identified as Davin White Stott, would ultimately survive, despite being shot three to four times.
The Weber County Attorney’s Office would later clear the policeman — Riverdale Police Officer Tyrel Dalton — of any wrongdoing four months after the shooting. The full report was obtained by the Standard-Examiner on Tuesday via open records request.
In the report’s conclusion, WCAO investigators say the officer’s body camera indicates Stott may have been lowering his gun when he was shot by Dalton.
“On the body camera footage there was no overt movement of the arm moving upward indicating that Stott was intending to point the gun at the officers,” the report says. “Just .12 tens of a second before the first shot was fired, it appeared that (Stott) was moving in a downward motion toward the floor.”
However, investigators say that given that minute amount of time between Stott’s movement and Dalton firing his gun, “it would seem reasonable to believe that the officer did not even notice this movement and had already perceived a threat.”
The full report also gives greater details to what the preceded the near-fatal shooting.
‘I had hoped that it would not come to this’
In the afternoon of May 22, Stott sent a text message to his girlfriend saying for her to meet him on a dirt road near a family member’s home in Farr West. Stott told her he wanted to “tell you about everything about my past that I haven’t told you,” the report says. The woman told police she thought the statement was odd and that she had a bad feeling, so she checked to see if Stott’s recently purchased handgun was in his home. It was missing.
What the girlfriend did not know is that Stott had been accused of sexually abusing a child, an allegation that would later lead to prosecutors filing a criminal charge against him.
Stott also reportedly texted a family member that evening.
“I had hoped that it would not come to this,” Stott said in the message, according to police. “I love you, but im [sic] not just going to sit around and wait for them to come take me away.”
When the girlfriend met Stott in Farr West, he reportedly told her that he wanted to kill himself. The woman tried to convince Stott to give her the gun, but he refused, the report says. She ultimately convinced him to drive to his apartment in Riverdale. Before getting there, the woman stopped at her mother’s home, and she told her mother that Stott had a gun and was suicidal, prompting the mother to call 911.
Police were called at 11:34 p.m., prompting officers to respond to Stott’s apartment in Riverdale.
Officers were able to convince the woman to leave the apartment, and she told them that Stott had already left. That would prove not to be true, and she later told police Stott was inside and had a gun.
Police tried to call out to Stott using a loudspeaker from a police vehicle, but received no response back. They tried to call his phone, but it was not operational. They told Stott he was not in trouble and that they just wanted to talk. At that time, the officers were not aware of any sexual assault allegations made against Stott.
At one point, Roy Police Sgt. Kyle Curtis obtained a ballistic shield and walked up close to a window to see if he could locate Stott, but the blinds were drawn. Curtis later heard a cough come from inside the apartment and called out to Stott. The two started talking, with Curtis telling Stott that he was not in trouble, and asking Stott to walk to the front door with nothing in his hands.
Stott asked if he could go to the window where Curtis was and open the blinds so they could talk; and Curtis told him that he was standing by the window with a police shield. By that time, Dalton was standing behind Curtis acting as his cover, and other officers were nearby but not directly in front of the window.
Stott quickly opened the blinds, and police saw that he had the gun in his left hand. The two officers were close to the window — with only two or three feet separating them from Stott — but they could hardly hear what Stott was saying.
As soon as the blinds opened, both Dalton and Curtis began yelling for Stott to drop the gun. Stott backed up, still facing the officers. Dalton moved to his right and reportedly saw Stott “arch his hand up, pointing the gun at (Dalton),” the report said.
This prompted Dalton to fire five shots through the window, causing Stott to fall to the floor. Based on Dalton’s body camera footage, the report indicates it took Dalton 1.82 seconds to fire the five shots.
Officers quickly entered the apartment and began first aid, applying tourniquets to Stott’s arm. Doctors later told police that Stott was hit several times, suffering gunshot wounds to his right arm, chest and head. Stott would survive the shooting.
While applying first aid, Stott can be heard on Curtis’ body camera footage talking to police.
“I was putting it down,” Stott said. “You pointed at him dude,” Curtis responded.
Several days later on May 28, police interviewed Stott in the hospital. During the interview, he reportedly told police that he didn’t want to leave the apartment because he was scared. Stott said that when he opened the blinds he had the gun in his hand because “he forgot he had it.” When he heard the officers yelling at him, he became even more scared, telling the investigators that he didn’t know where to put the gun when officers began yelling.
Stott denied that he ever pointed the gun at the officers and said he was going to put it down when he was shot. He said that he never intended to shoot any of the officers outside his window.
Days after the shooting, Dalton was interviewed by county investigators. Dalton said he was acting as Curtis’ cover at the window and was standing to the right of Curtis, who was crouched behind the police shield. Dalton said the blinds came open “extremely fast” and he could see the gun in Stott’s hand.
“I saw the gun, but as soon as I heard Sgt. Curtis yell gun, gun, gun. He went back to his shield mentality, to try and protect us from any shots that may have been fired from inside from Davin,” Dalton told investigators.
Using a fake gun, Dalton demonstrated to investigators how he saw Stott holding the gun at his left side, and how the muzzle of the gun rotated up in his direction. Photos of that demonstration were included in the report, as were screenshots of body camera footage.
“I can see the thousand yard stare coming out of his eyes,” Dalton said. “I was scared for myself and Sgt. Curtis’ life. I thought holy cow, this guy is in a position where he has the drop on us, and he is clearly not surrendering.”
Dalton concluded the interview by telling investigators, “This is nothing I ever wanted to do in my career.” At the time of the shooting, Dalton had worked for the Riverdale Police Department for one year, and before that he had worked for the Weber County Sheriff’s Office for a decade.
Both Dalton and Curtis were wearing body cameras that were activated prior to the shooting. The report notes that Curtis’ camera is obstructed by the police shield, but Dalton’s camera clearly shows the incident. Dalton wore his camera on his belt, just to the left of his belt buckle. Because the floor of the apartment is a few feet lower than the ground outside, the footage is close to eye-level with Stott.
Screenshots of the footage included in the investigative report show the window with the blinds closed. When they open, Curtis and Dalton both move back, and Stott can be seen standing near the window with his left hand just below the bottom of the window. As Dalton fires, Stott begins to move downward. The report includes screenshots in between each gunshot, as Stott appears to lean forward as the screenshots progress. In several of the photos, muzzle flashes from Dalton’s gun are seen near the top.
Once inside the apartment, Curtis’ body camera shows Stott lying on the floor, blood pooling under him. The handgun can be seen on the floor between Stott and the window.
Crime scene investigators found five shell casings outside in the grass, and after analyzing Dalton’s gun they confirmed that he fired five times.
Concluding the report, investigators wrote, “The fact that Stott had been told five different times not to appear with anything in his hands and he was told six times to drop the weapon it would seem reasonable in that moment that Officer Dalton believed that Stott posed a threat of death or serious bodily injury to himself and to Sgt. Curtis.”
Dalton was later cleared of any wrongdoing, and Stott was charged with two counts of assault against a peace officer, both second-degree felonies. He pleaded not guilty to the assault charges, as well as the sexual assault charge, on Oct. 8. Stott is being held without bail at the Weber County Jail.