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Roy officer-involved shooting followed nearly two hours of talking with suicidal man

By Tim Vandenack - | Aug 29, 2023

Image supplied, Weber County Attorney's Office

An officer speaks to a woman, identified as the mother of Steve Kirkman, inside Roy apartment unit where police had been called on July 7, 2023, in response to a report of an armed and suicidal man. The man, Kirkman, allegedly pointed a shotgun at responding officers and was ultimately shot and killed by police. This photo is a screengrab from video of an officers' body camera.

OGDEN — Police attempted for around two hours to get the armed and suicidal man killed in a July 7 officer-involved shooting to give up his weapons and talk to a mental health professional.

“It’s going to be in your best interest to leave,” the man, identified as Steven Kirkman, 39, told police at one point via phone, according to a preliminary video report on the incident released by the Weber County Attorney’s Office.

“Steve, my best interest is to help the people who live in Roy and you’re one of those people,” answers an officer.

Ultimately, the efforts that day at the Orchard Cove Apartments complex in Roy wouldn’t yield results, leading to the fourth deadly officer-involved shooting in Weber County of the year. Kirkman — positioned in the third-story balcony of a building in the complex — would not accede to the officers’ pleas and he was shot and killed after apparently pointing a shotgun toward some of the responding officers on the ground below.

“He’s aiming it over here,” one officer says in body camera footage of the incident in the report, just seconds before Kirkman is shot and killed. “He’s pointing it like. … He just racked it.”

Image supplied, Weber County Attorney's Office

An officer approaches the open Roy apartment unit where police had been called on July 7, 2023, in response to a report of an armed and suicidal man. The man, Steven Kirkman, allegedly pointed a shotgun at responding officers and was ultimately shot and killed by police. This photo is a screengrab from video of an officers' body camera.

A brief narrative in the report describes the scene in similar terms. “Steven Kirkman came out on the balcony armed with a shotgun. Kirkman racked the shotgun and then pointed it at the officers below him,” it reads. “Two officers fired their weapons.”

The gunshots from two officers — one from Roy, the other from Ogden, officials reported previously — proved fatal. Kirkman was pronounced dead on the scene, nearly two-and-a-half hours after the initial call to dispatchers about Kirkman’s armed and suicidal state.

The video report was released on YouTube on July 21, but Weber County Attorney Christopher Allred said Monday that it’s not the final word on the incident. Allred, per standard procedure in such instances, is still awaiting a final report. “After the final report is completed by our office, I make a determination on whether the use of force was justified under the law,” he said in a message to the Standard-Examiner.

Allred’s office previously released preliminary reports into the three officer-involved shootings earlier this year. Shootouts between Ogden police and Brian Simonton on June 6 and Alex Lopez on June 13 left the two men dead. An April 27 shootout with North Ogden police left Jeffrey Roberts dead.

‘DON’T MAKE ME DO THIS’

The July 7 incident started with a frantic call to dispatchers about an armed man at a Roy apartment complex — Kirkman — threatening to kill himself in the presence of his mother, according to the video report. The gravity of the situation is apparent as three officers — shown on body camera footage of one of them — cautiously approach the third-story apartment where Kirkman is located, there with a woman, apparently his mom.

“Steve, let me see your hands,” one of the officers commands from the third-story landing through the open door of the unit.

“He’s trying to get you to shoot him. Don’t,” pleads the sobbing woman.

The officers lead the woman from the unit and the video report shifts to body camera footage of an officer stationed in the parking lot of the apartment complex, the building where Kirkman is housed sitting off in the distance.

“I can’t come in there with a gun, buddy,” an officer shouts to Kirkman. “You’ve got to put it down and I’ll talk to you. I’ll take you to the hospital myself, buddy.”

Another officer shouts out that he and Kirkman know each other, have interacted previously.

“Please, man, don’t make me do this, OK? I’ve talked to you so many times. Don’t make any of us do this. Please let me help you,” the officer says. “We’re not going to harm you. We’re not going to hurt you. Please don’t make me do this.”

The video report shifts to footage of yet another officer’s body camera that shows the officer talking with Kirkman via phone. The officer tells Kirkman that his dad and a therapist are on the scene, there to talk to him and to help him.

Kirkman doesn’t offer much of a response, but rebuffs the officers’ pleas to let them vacate the tenants of an apartment unit below him, saying he has no intent of harming them. “They’re safe. I’m not going to do anything,” he says.

Later, Kirkman also indicates via phone that he has no desire to hurt the responding officers.

“I don’t want to harm any of you because I like all of you,” he says.

“I appreciate it, Steve. We like you as well,” an officer answers.

“But if anyone comes through that door …,” Kirkman says.

After more back and forth, the officers indicate they’ll leave the scene, as requested by Kirkman, but the dialogue takes an ominous twist when the man speaks of the weapons he has, including two shotguns and a 9 mm handgun, apparently.

“I’ve got two 12-guages and a 9 mil in my hand. How many bodies do you want buried today?” Kirkman says.

“Zero — I want zero bodies,” the officer answers.

Off the phone, the officer indicates thereafter that officers are “starting to lose rapport” with Kirkman, according to body camera footage. The narrative in the video report echoes the concerns, particularly worries about leaving the scene.

Based on Kirkman’s “continued threats,” the narrative reads, “the commanders became concerned that if officers left the area, it could further endanger the lives of persons in the apartment complex.”

Thereafter, the report shifts to the body camera footage that depicts the final deadly interaction. The actual shooting was not caught on video given the distance of officers to Kirkman, but the fatal gunshots can be heard.


NEED HELP?

Those thinking of harming themselves have several resources available:

Weber Human Services emergency or crisis services, 801-625-3700.

Davis Behavioral Health 24-Hour Crisis Response Line, 801-773-7060

National Suicide Prevention Hotline, 1-800-273-8255

SafeUT Crisis Chat and Tip Line, 833-372-3388

National Alliance on Mental Illness Utah, 801-323-9900

Family Counseling Service of Northern Utah, 801-399-1600

Intermountain McKay-Dee Hospital Behavioral Health, 801-387-5600

Davis Hospital: Behavioral Health Unit and Emergency Room, 801-807-1000

Lakeview Hospital: Behavioral Health Unit and Emergency Room, 801-299-2200

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