Altercation with police leads to shooting

The scene of the fatal officer-involved shooting that took place near Stokes Market in Preston on Nov. 19.

No charges will be filed against Franklin County Deputy Kelly Biggs, the officer whose bullets ended the life of Raul Antonio Menjvar-Saabedra on Nov. 19, in Preston.

Evidence from cameras and witnesses confirm that Saabedra, 50, Grace, was intent on forcing officers to end his life for him that night.

Police had been called at 8:37 p.m. when store personnel became alarmed at Saabedra’s behavior. Officer Dustin Olsen was called in by first responder, Preston Police Officer Tuyen Nguyen, to help communicate with Saabedra, as Olsen speaks fluent Spanish.

“It became immediately apparent that (Saabedra) was mentally unstable,” states the report.

Saabedra pointed at several shoppers saying that they were there to kill him. On at least eight different times over the next two hours as officers tried to calm him, he told officers that he preferred them to kill him in order to avoid people he thought were intent on torturing him for his sins.

After about an hour, Deputy Olsen was able to convince Saabedra to place a 13” knife from Stokes and concealed in his jacket, inside a bag and to exit the store with the officers.

Saabedra’s friend and former bishop in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Dal Sellers, then showed up at the scene and tried to calm Saabedra’s mind. Sellers had been looking for Saabedra since making arrangements earlier in the day to pick him up in Preston at the bus station and take him home to Grace. Saabedra rode the bus from Logan to Preston after being released from a behavioral health unit in Logan Utah where he had admitted himself a week before for suicidal ideations.

After about another hour of trying to help Saabedra calm down, it was decided that it was best if Sellers left, he said in a previous interview. So he did.

Seller’s agitated friend took several steps with the knife towards Deputy Olsen and Preston Police Chief Dan McCammon, then stopped.

Officer Biggs then arrived on the scene, and Saabedra headed towards him. Officer Biggs told him to “stop right there,” three times, but Saabedra had the knife in a raised position and did not stop.

Deputy Biggs, Deputy Olsen and Officer Nguyen all deployed their tasers with no effect. “It is believed that the clothes Saabedra was wearing prevented the taser prongs from attaching properly,” states the report. Saabedra slowed momentarily, then fled to the road in front of V-1 Propane, just south of Stokes Market. Officers pursued, and Saabedra raised the knife towards them several times.

Officers tried to talk Saabedra into putting down the knife. Instead, he stepped slowly towards Deputy Biggs then sprinted towards him with the knife raised. The report states that the officer felt he had to take action to preserve his own life at that point, and fired a shot. Saabedra stopped briefly after being struck in the shoulder area, then continued to rush towards Deputy Biggs with the knife raised up. Deputy Biggs discharged two additional shots from his weapon. They were fatal.

“Saabedra made himself a clear and immediate danger to Deputy Biggs, who was engaged in the lawful performance of his duties,” states the Critical Incident Task Force Memorandum issued by Franklin County Prosecuting Attorney Vic A. Pearson today, Jan. 3.

“The entire incident was covered by a great deal of camera coverage,” from both the businesses where the incident took place as well as body cameras attached to officers.

“It is abundantly clear that Deputy Biggs would be in fear of great bodily harm or death at the moment he fired his weapon,” states Pearson’s report. The report states that other officers were equally concerned for Deputy Bigg’s life at the point shots were fired. Officer Nguyen stated that he did not fire because there was a vehicle in line of fire behind Saabedra.

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