You are the owner of this article.
featured

Report from West Haven police shooting reveals new details; body cameras not active during shooting

  • 0
  • 6 min to read
Police lights

OGDEN — A full investigative report regarding a police shooting on June 3 in West Haven that put a man in the hospital reveals new details in the case.

Included in the 41-page report are the names of the two Weber County Sheriff’s Office deputies who fired shots at 38-year-old Justin Jessop. They were identified as deputies Jacob King and Jose Leon.

Among other bits of new information included in the full report, it was revealed that the two deputies combined fired 18 or more shots at Jessop after he allegedly pointed a gun at the two. Though the deputies were wearing body cameras at the time of the shooting, neither camera was turned on until moments after the shooting, according to the report.

In a letter dated Sept. 12, Weber County Attorney Christopher Allred told Weber County Sheriff Ryan Arbon that his office had ruled that Leon and King were justified in their actions when they fired their weapons at Jessop. Allred wrote in the letter that Jessop had been speaking with a SWAT team negotiator for over an hour trying to have him surrender peacefully when Jessop was found by King and Leon. Allred added that when Jessop was searched, police found one handgun near him and another underneath him.

Arbon confirmed to the Standard-Examiner last Wednesday that both Leon and King had returned to work at the sheriff’s office.

Both the investigative report and the letter declining charges against King and Leon were obtained by the Standard-Examiner from an open records request.

A warrant for Jessop’s arrest made public earlier this month gave an outline of the incident, but the investigative report offers a more detailed look of the case.

Police were called to a home in West Haven just before midnight on June 2 after a report of shots fired was made to police. When Roy officers arrived, they found a woman who told them that her boyfriend, whom she identified as Jessop, allegedly pointed a gun at her face then pulled the trigger. The gun was not loaded, though she thought it was, and Jessop then allegedly pointed the gun at his own head a squeezed the trigger, according to the investigative report. Jessop then allegedly told the woman that if she called the police there would be a “bloodbath.”

The woman was able to leave the house and later told officers that she believed Jessop would try to kill the officers if they got close.

Because it was believed that Jessop was inside the house with multiple guns, a SWAT team was called out to the home. When they arrived, a SWAT negotiator called Jessop and talked with him for over a hour. Police alleged in the arrest warrant that when this conversation was going on, Jessop was walking in the trails west of the home with two loaded handguns in his possession.

According to the investigatory report, the SWAT negotiator, a sergeant with the Ogden Police Department, was able to call Jessop on his cellphone and the two talked for roughly an hour and 12 minutes. During the conversation Jessop allegedly denied that he had guns, reportedly saying that he was a “convicted felon” and couldn’t legally possess guns.

The negotiator noted in his report that he wanted to keep Jessop on the phone as long as possible so police could “PING” his phone to get his location. They found that Jessop was a half-mile from where police were located. Later, police were able to map out where Jessop was walking throughout the neighborhood.

Near the end of the call, the negotiator said that he could hear “what sounded like police shouting commands and Jessop yelling ‘stop, stop, f--- you,’” the investigation report says. Then he heard gunshots and heard calls of shots fired announced over a radio. Seconds later, Jessop can be heard “moaning and gurgling almost immediately upon the first host being fired. It appears this is the bullet that struck him in the jaw,” the report says.

The entire call between the negotiator and Jessop was recorded on the officer’s body camera.

Both King and Leon had legal counsel present when they were interviewed by investigators in the days following the shooting.

King was interviewed on June 11. He told investigators he was a correctional officer before being assigned to the patrol division upon his graduation from the police academy in May 2019, and he has been employed with the department for roughly one year. The police shooting occurred on June 3.

That night, King was assigned to work Leon, who was working as King’s field training officer, or FTO. The purpose of the FTO program is for new deputies to “learn the ropes” from more experienced officers. The two were called out to the West Haven area once police received the report of shots fired.

Initially, King said that he and Leon were going to the area to relieve other police units and set up a perimeter around the home. However, once police were able to get rough locations through pinging Jessop’s phone, the two were assigned to go look for him. While the two were driving around, King saw Jessop out of the passenger window. He immediately jumped out of the car and chased after Jessop, and King said he believed the man he saw was Jessop because he was the only person walking on the road in the early morning hours with a phone.

King pulled out his service weapon and shouted at Jessop to stop. King said that Jessop had one hand holding his phone to his ear and he could not see the other hand. Jessop reportedly was walking away from the officers and went down a “sandy embankment” near the road.

When King ran out of the car, Leon ran to the back of the car to grab his dog, as Leon is a K-9 unit handler. Leon got the dog and sent him after Jessop, though the dog was sleeping moments before and did not know where he was going, according to Leon. After a moment of scanning and looking for King and the dog, Leon saw Jessop allegedly pointing a handgun in his direction. Leon fired twice before he fell onto his back, and his gun apparently malfunctioned. At that time, Leon was near the top of an embankment lying on his back.

“I went to squeeze more because he (Jessop) was still standing pointing the gun at me and I don’t know if he fired or not in the situation, all I can see is him still pointing the gun at me and me sitting there on my back in an elevated spot with a malfunction gun,” Leon told investigators.

Leon went on to describe the situation in the report. “So immediately, it felt like an eternity, I’m saying in my head, ‘fix it Jose, fix it, fix it, fix it, you gotta win this, you gotta win this. I tap that gun and rack it as hard as I could and point it right back at him and just started squeezing rounds until I saw him fall.”

From King’s perspective, moments after the dog was released, he heard shots fired.

“I couldn’t see the dog anymore so in my mind I thought he had just shot the dog,” King told investigators. “I go to pick up my sights again and out of the other corner of my eye I see my FTO (Leon) laying, on his butt, and I was like ‘okay he just shot my FTO.’”

King said he then saw “the muzzle flash in my general direction and the weapon looked huge pointed in my direction and I fired.”

Investigators searched the scene for shell casings and analyzed King and Leon’s guns. They determined that King fired six rounds and Leon fired 13 rounds, although only 18 casings were found by crime scene investigators.

A review of the deputies’ body worn cameras showed each of the two activated the cameras after the shooting took place. Leon’s camera footage starts with him saying, “need more units shots fired in the canal,” according to the written investigation report. He can be heard yelling at Jessop telling him not to move and calling for his dog. Jessop reportedly can be heard moaning in the background before being handcuffed by another officer.

King’s body camera footage begins with him yelling at Jessop repeatedly not to move. Leon can be heard in the background calling for the dog.

Jessop was taken to McKay-Dee Hospital immediately after the shooting. According to the investigatory report, Jessop was shot in his left cheek and through his jaw; in his left shoulder; his left wrist; and in his left thigh.

He was interviewed two times by police in the intensive care unit in the days following the shooting. In each interview, Jessop had his jaw wired shut and communicated with officers by writing questions down on a piece of paper. Both interviews were recorded on the officer’s body worn cameras.

During the first interview, Jessop allegedly told police that he fired at least one of the handguns into the ground earlier in the night. When asked by an investigator about the shooting, Jessop told them he tried to run and ditch the guns, but he couldn’t, so he was going to shoot himself.

“Couldn’t do that either, was already getting shot,” Jessop wrote. “I heard ‘stop m----------- I’m going to shoot you’ and he shot me in the back and face. And chest.”

Jessop was later released from the hospital. He was charged in connection with the incident, and he was booked into the Weber County Jail on Sept. 30 on a no-bail warrant. Jessop was ultimately charged with two counts of assault against a peace officer, a second-degree felony; two counts of possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person, a second-degree felony; one count of theft by receiving stolen property, a second-degree felony; aggravated assault, a third-degree felony; and two counts of misdemeanor discharge of firearms.

Jessop’s most recent court appearance took place Thursday in Ogden’s 2nd District Court.

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.

See what people are talking about at The Community Table!