Friday, September 1, 2017

Gunfight Anatomy -- The Nicolas Sanchez Incident

Sanchez Inadvertently Exposing His Pistol
On February 21, two Roy City police officers responded to a trespassing call at a gas station. A store clerk and a witness inside the store reported that Nicolas Sanchez was acting suspiciously with his car’s engine still running in the parking lot.

The first officer on the scene walked to the convenience store and stood near a curb outside while Sanchez stood several feet away near the business’ open doorway. The second officer to respond exited his vehicle and approached Sanchez and the first officer.

The officers asked Sanchez to come to where they were standing and speak with them. Sanchez asked the officers what he had done and why they wished to speak with him. Moments later, Sanchez moved away from the doorway and put his right hand in his pocket. When the second police officer asked Sanchez to remove his hand from his pocket, Sanchez quickly lifted his sweatshirt revealing that he had a pistol. Sanchez then backed away, turned, and ran away from the officers. (Sanchez probably did not intend to reveal the pistol, but rather to convince the officers that he had no weapon. Revealing the pistol was probably inadvertent; however, the second officer was very observant. The total time that Sanchez’s pistol was visible was less than ½ a second.)

As Sanchez begins to move away from the first officer, he chases Sanchez and grabs him by the back of his hoodie and appears to punch him. The two men fall to the ground. At the same time, the second officer yells, “Let me see your hands, let me see your hands” and then fires his pistol once. There is a brief pause before 15 more shots are heard.

In a written statement provided at a press conference, Roy City Attorney Heather White said the first officer was trying to get Sanchez’s gun away from him during their struggle and at one point, the officer saw Sanchez’s pistol pointing at his face.

The first officer and Sanchez were on the wrestling on ground for about three seconds before he disarmed Sanchez; however, at that moment he heard shots being fired and didn’t know if Sanchez had another weapon (the statement said “shots” however, the video indicates that the second officer fired only one shot).

The first officer then opened fire on Sanchez with the pistol he had taken from him, firing 13 rounds in approximately 2.22 seconds as he backpedaled away from Sanchez. The first officer then fired an additional two shots in .41 and .51 seconds respectively. The entire incident lasted just over a minute.

Attorney White’s statement says Sanchez’s criminal history included assault, battery, robbery, drug possession, possession of stolen property, gang activity, weapons violations, parole violations, unlawful discharge of a weapon at a person from a car, attempted murder and more—it is unclear whether all of these charges resulted in convictions. However, Sanchez admitted that he was a convicted felon, illegally in possession of a firearm in August 2010 after police found guns at his Clearfield, Utah home and in a storage unit on a 3rd party’s business property. Sanchez was sentenced to five years in federal prison and three years of probation.

After Sanchez served his prison time for the Utah gun conviction, a probation officer recommended he be released from supervision two years early. A judge granted the request Jan. 27, 2017. Less than one month later, Sanchez is once again illegally in possession of a concealed pistol and trespassing at a gas station. This time Sanchez’s criminal behavior resulted in his death. See the video of the incident below.

See the full video at:

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