Layton Hills Mall shooting

Layton Police on scene of a shooting at the Layton Hills Mall on Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2019. 

FARMINGTON — A newly public investigation report into a police shooting in Layton last year gives greater details of the events leading to the fatal event.

Documents show that a 15-officer federal task force attempted to arrest a robbery suspect outside a Layton mall before the man tried to flee by ramming his car into police vehicles. One federal agent fired four times into the man’s car through the windshield, hitting him three times.

The man shot, 28-year-old Zackary Aldridge Hall, was pronounced dead at a Layton hospital the same day.

The federal officer who shot Hall was Department of Homeland Security officer Nathan Young, who at the time was on assignment to the U.S. Marshal’s Violent Fugitive Apprehension Strike Team, or VFAST. The strike team is a group that consists of both federal and local police officers who have been cross-deputized to work as law enforcement officials in both a local and federal capacity.

The investigation report revealed that, more specifically, Young was a special agent for the Enforcement and Removal Operations Unit, or ERO, for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, also known as ICE. One area of the report describes Young as a “Deportation Officer.”

ERO “enforces the nation’s immigration laws in a fair and effective manner,” according to its website. The ICE division has several offices around the country, including one in Salt Lake City.

The investigation report, obtained by the Standard-Examiner via an open records request, paints a more detailed picture of the confrontation between Hall and police that left the 28-year-old dead.

Court records indicate that Hall had a warrant issued for his arrest on April 4, 2019.

Hall was reportedly a suspect in a March 15, 2019, robbery at a Macy’s store in Salt Lake County. He allegedly attempted to leave the store with merchandise he hadn’t paid for and Macy’s security stopped him outside the store.

Hall allegedly tried to flee, but the employee grabbed his arm to stop him. Hall then shoved the employee to the ground and began punching him; other Macy’s employees tried to help during the altercation. Hall slipped out of his sweatshirt during the struggle, allowing employees to see a gun he reportedly had hostlered in the back of his pants.

At that point, employees let Hall run away, and he left the stolen merchandise behind, according to charging documents.

On Oct. 8, agents with VFAST were surveilling Hall at an apartment in Davis County. Later, a handful of agents followed Hall as he drove to the Layton Hills Mall and went inside. More agents arrived and prepared to arrest Hall once he left the building.

In an interview several days after the shooting, Young said that VFAST agents had just apprehended a suspect in Ogden without incident shortly before leaving for Layton.

As more agents arrived at the mall, they were told the plan was to arrest Hall as he exited the building, but police were not able to positively identify him until Hall was nearly to his car. The report says agents saw Hall leaving the building around 3:21 p.m.

After they determined the man was Hall, Young drove his vehicle directly in front of Hall’s car to block him in.

Young got out of the car, identified himself as law enforcement and drew his weapon, according to the report. Hall was nearly to the car door when this happened, then he quickly got into his vehicle and started the engine.

Hall put his car in reverse and backed into a civilian car parked behind him. He then reportedly put the car in drive and drove into Young’s vehicle before backing up again. By that time, Young was taking cover behind his car.

During an interview with investigators, Young said he “saw Hall’s hands on the steering wheel and made eye contact with Hall.” He then saw Hall look down and shift the car into drive before Young fired four shots into the car.

“Young was afraid Hall was was going to drive the vehicle through the only gap in the vehicles and hit him as well as the other officers behind him,” the report says.

After the shots, the car didn’t move. Hall complied with police and raised his hands before he exited the car. He was placed in handcuffs before he was rushed to the Davis Hospital and Medical Center across the interstate in Layton.

The report did not indicate whether or not police found any weapons in Hall’s vehicle. The investigation also does not indicate if any of the agents involved were wearing body cameras at the time of the incident.

Investigators at the Davis County Attorney’s Office were notified of the shooting at 3:40 p.m. that day and were soon sent to the scene. Shortly after the shooting, all members of the task force were taken to the Layton Police Department to have their gear photographed and give statements to investigators as part of the county’s officer involved shooting protocol.

Young was also taken to the police department to be photographed. He was interviewed at a later date and had an attorney present at the interview.

Around 5:45 p.m. the day of the shooting, investigators were informed that Hall had died.

The following day, Oct. 9, three investigators witnessed Hall’s autopsy. A medical examiner found that Hall was shot three times — once in the chest and twice in the right arm. The medical examiner also found that two of the bullets had hit Hall’s lungs and caused internal bleeding, leading to his death.

Hall’s brother reportedly warned police the week prior to the shooting that Hall was dangerous, Young told police during his interview. Young also said that Hall was known to carry a handgun in the waistband of his lower back, and Hall was “using drugs and did not want to go back to jail.”

Included in the report is a list of officers assembled for the VFAST group. The list of 15 officers consists mainly of members of state and local law enforcement, as 10 members are identified as local or state officers and five are listed as federal agents.

The local and state police agencies with officers on the task force that day include the Unified and West Jordan police departments, as well as Adult Probation and Parole. Federal agents listed consist of four with the U.S. Marshal’s Office and Young, listed as a member of DHS and ICE.

Recently, the Davis County Attorney’s Office made public their decision to decline prosecution against Young in connection with the shooting, effectively clearing the federal agent of wrongdoing.

In a letter addressed to a Department of Homeland Security office in Colorado and dated Nov. 12, Davis County Attorney’s Office Chief Criminal Deputy David Cole wrote that his office would not file charges against the federal agent, saying they do not believe a jury would convict him if charged. The letter from Cole was given to the Standard-Examiner earlier this month.

VFAST agents also made headlines recently, as the U.S. Marshal’s task force shot and killed an alleged homicide suspect on Feb. 13 in Salt Lake City.

The man killed — 41-year-old Brian Francis Filion — was allegedly a suspect in a murder that took place on Feb. 8 in North Ogden. U.S. Marshal Matthew Harris told the Standard-Examiner that the North Ogden Police Department contacted the Marshal’s Office on Wednesday to seek assistance with finding Filion.

Around 11:45 p.m. Thursday, officers found Filion walking near 400 East when they approached, and the man tried to run away from officers on foot, according to a press release published Friday by the Marshal’s Office. Police also released a K-9 from the Herriman Police Department to stop Filion. When the dog approached, police allege that Filion pulled out a gun.

Details of the exact events leading up to the shooting are unclear, as police said in the release that, “Officers engaged the suspect, and the suspect was shot and killed.” Harris said that at least one officer fired their service weapon, and “several rounds” were fired during the incident.

During the incident, the Herriman K-9, a dog named Hondo, was also shot and killed. It was not immediately clear who shot and killed the K-9.

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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