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July 26, 2021

Man shot by police while wielding crowbar charged with assaulting officers

WEST VALLEY CITY — Charges were filed Tuesday against a man who was shot by police after he allegedly threatened them with a crowbar.

Denny James Clark, 25, is charged in 3rd District Court with aggravated burglary, a first-degree felony; two counts of assault on a police officer, a second-degree felony; plus vehicle burglary and criminal mischief, class A misdemeanors.

About 1:30 a.m. on May 10, emergency dispatchers received multiple calls reporting that a man was using a metal object to break windows and try and enter homes in the area of 3850 South and 4800 West. One woman called 911 to report the man was breaking into a truck parked in her driveway, according to charging documents.

The woman confronted the man and told him, “Get out of here or I’ll call the cops!” Charging documents say Clark then ran after the woman, who was able to get in her house and close her door, “only to see the window on the door shattered by Clark with the crowbar. Clark hit the front door multiple times with the crowbar and then started to kick the door, causing it to crack.”

Unified police, who are leading the investigation into the officer-involved shooting, viewed body camera video recorded by the West Valley officers who responded to the scene and confronted Clark.

In the video, officers order Clark several times to drop his crowbar. He eventually responded, “Alright, here I come” and raised the crowbar with both hands over his head and walked directly at officers, according to the charges.

After being ordered again to drop the crowbar and Clark responding, “Nope,” an officer deployed his Taser but it had no effect, the charges say.

Two officers then chased after Clark, who “suddenly turned around and came at them with the crowbar still above his head with both hands. Finally, Clark was fired upon and immediately taken into custody,” according to charging documents.

Clark has since been moved to the Salt Lake County Jail where prosecutors have requested he be held without bail.

A decision by the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office on whether the shooting was legally justified is still pending.

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