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Published: Monday, 4/29/2013

Utah police: Man shot talked of suicide before


WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah  — A man shot after pulling a gun in a police lobby told officers months ago that he wanted to be shot by police because he was a registered sex offender and his wife was taking his kids, authorities said.

West Valley City police Sgt. Jason Hauer said James Ramsey Kammeyer, 39, entered the police department lobby around 8:30 a.m. today and asked an officer to come out from behind a partition. When several officers came to help, Kammeyer pulled out a gun and at least one of the officers shot him multiple times.

“His behavior was such that it was alarming to the officer right off,” Hauer said.

Kammeyer was taken to a hospital, but his wounds are not life-threatening, Hauer said.

After responding to a call of a suicidal person, Kammeyer told officers in December he wanted to die by being shot by police because he was a registered sex offender and his wife was taking his kids, Hauer said. He pleaded guilty in 1999 to felony child sex abuse, court records show.

Hauer said he doesn’t know if Kammeyer ever fired his gun. Nobody else was harmed. The handgun was found in the lobby. The area surrounding the police department was taped off as investigators looked for evidence. Two bullet holes in the lobby windows were visible.

West Valley City briefly ordered a stop to light-rail service at a station near the police department, Utah Transit Authority spokesman Remi Barron said. Bus service also was stopped in the area, but service is back running without delays, Barron said.

Bonnie Barkhimer was sitting on the light rail train stopped about 30 yards from the police department and said she saw six or seven police officers swarmed out of building when the shooting occurred.

She said she never saw the suspect but there were “a ton of bullets.”

“This is supposed to be a safe, civilian place,” Barkhimer said. “Not a place of gunfire.”

Leilani Wolfgramm also witnessed the shooting from the train.

When the shots were fired, Wolfgramm said dozens of people standing at the light rail station dove for the ground or tried to board the train.

The beleaguered police department has drawn attention after federal and local prosecutors dropped nearly 100 cases that came out of the department’s drug unit. The now-disbanded narcotics unit is the subject of internal investigations and probes by the county attorney, U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI.

West Valley City’s population is about 132,000.

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