ROY — A man shot and killed after a scuffle with police in Roy moved to Utah years ago to turn his life around, according to a friend. 

Nicolas Sanchez, 38, of Layton, was fatally shot by police after he allegedly raised a gun toward officers Tuesday, Feb. 21, according to a statement from the Roy Police Department.

Two Roy police officers responded to a report of trespassing Tuesday night at a Texaco gas station at 4395 S. 1900 West. When officers arrived on scene, Sanchez engaged in a fight with officers, Roy Deputy Chief Aaron Perry said Wednesday morning.

RELATED: 1 man dead in officer-involved shooting at Roy gas station

Officers shot Sanchez after he pulled out a handgun and pointed it at police, Perry said. He was transported to a local hospital and later pronounced dead.

Police said in a statement that Sanchez had an “excessive criminal history” in California and Utah and was recently terminated from federal probation.

Sanchez was an ex-gang member, but left that life behind when he moved to Utah years ago, said Annette Olsen of Layton. 

“He’s a good kid. A really good kid,” Olsen said. “He had a really good heart. He loved everybody.”

Sanchez met Olsen in 2008 while working with a construction crew on a remodel of her home. After construction jobs dried up following the recession, she offered him a job working at her dog kenneling business. 

“He calls me his ‘Mormon mom,’” Olsen said. “He doesn’t have a mom and dad. His mom died when he was 10, he never knew his dad.”

Olsen said Sanchez largely lived on the streets growing up in California and became involved in gangs and “had some drug problems.” 

“He said Utah was safe for him,” Olsen said. “When he was in California, it was a threatening situation. He felt safe here and he felt at peace here.”

The Standard-Examiner could not trace any of Sanchez’s criminal history in California because California does not have a statewide public online records resource. Sanchez’s former residence in California is unknown.

He was convicted of a few traffic violations in 2009 and 2010, according to Utah court records.

In August 2010, police obtained a search warrant for Sanchez’s Clearfield home and found several guns. Police also searched a storage unit at a business property owned by Olsen and found several other firearms. 

Sanchez admitted the firearms were his, according to court records, and that he knew he shouldn’t have any because of his felony history in California. Sanchez pleaded guilty in federal court to possession of three handguns, five rifles, one shotgun and around 1,600 rounds ammunition on July 22, 2011. One charge of marijuana possession was dismissed.

Sanchez was sentenced to five years in federal prison and three years probation. Olsen helped Sanchez hire a lawyer for the case. She also submitted a letter to the court testifying about Sanchez’s good character. The letter noted Olsen and Sanchez had been working to educate students about staying out of gangs. 

“What frustrates me is he was in possession of firearms. He wouldn’t have hurt anyone, he liked to go target shooting,” she said. “I can see if he were robbing someone and he had a gun, but he just had (guns) in his house.”

After serving his prison term, Sanchez lived in a halfway house and worked for Olsen at her dog business. He later moved into Olsen’s home. He received two speeding convictions in 2016.

On Jan. 27, 2017, Sanchez’s probation officer recommended he be released from supervision two years early and a federal judge granted the request. 

Nearly one month later, Sanchez was dead.

“I was very surprised. Very surprised,” Olsen said. 

Sanchez was still living at her home at at the time of his death.

“He was starting to finally make a good life for himself,” she said. “He was working really, really hard for that. He had a couple of slip-ups here and there.”

Sanchez was hired for a full-time job in October, working as a forklift operator in Ogden, Olsen said. She had no idea he had obtained a gun, although she heard him talk about getting violent threats from people he knew in California. He occasionally returned to his home state to visit family and friends.

“I think he’d been depressed,” she said. “He’s been harassed by police his whole life. He’d just gotten off parole and finally felt he had his freedom back.”

Roy Detective Josh Taylor said in a press release that no more information about the shooting would be provided at this time.

Jacob Scholl contributed to this report. Contact Reporter Leia Larsen at 801-625-4289 or llarsen@standard.net

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