Monday, May 10, 2010

Provo, Utah Police Shooting

The Salt Lake Tribune reported on a police shooting in Provo.

A man who was shot and killed by Provo police Saturday after he pointed a gun at officers in a grocery store, had earlier been trying to steal beer from the store, police said.

He was still struggling with the employees when two police officers arrived about 8:40 p.m. One of the officers shot a Taser at Ethington, but it had no effect, Argyle said.

Ronald Ethington, 35, of Provo, was stopped by a Smith's employee who saw him shoplifting in the store at 350 N. Freedom Blvd., said Provo police Capt. Cliff Argyle.

Ethington produced an older model .357 revolver and pointed it at police. Both officers fired their guns and hit Ethington.

One of the officers tried to revive him, but Ethington died in the store.

Provo police had not had contact with Ethington before, and a search of Utah court records showed he had no criminal history.

His brother said Sunday the family is struggling to understand what occurred as they mourn his death.

"It's very shocking to us, especially if it's over a can or bottle or beer that this tragedy has happened," said Mikel Ethington, of Payson. "He was a great brother and uncle. He would do anything to make the kids laugh. He was very loving with them."

In another article, it was reported the police fired 15 shots. This certainly seems excessive to me, police shooting 6 or 7 times each at a suspect. Granted, if he pulled a gun, he was asking for it, but the response seems a bit much.

The brother's reaction seemed less than forthright, don't you think? Maybe he just doesn't want to speak ill of the dead or perhaps the family is planning on suing the police, but I find it hard to believe this was an isolated incident. What do you think?

Of course, I have my usual concerns about how the lax gun laws in Utah helped this tragedy to occur. I don't think the average drunk and belligerent shop-lifter in New Jersey carries a gun everywhere he goes. But in some states that's exactly the case.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.


  1. The average drunk and belligerent shop-lifter doesn't carry a gun everywhere in any state.

  2. "I don't think the average drunk and belligerent shop-lifter in New Jersey carries a gun everywhere he goes. But in some states that's exactly the case."

    Because in New Jersey Criminals are so much more noble than the other 50 states.

  3. FWM, The point is the guy was not a criminal. He was one of you, at least according to his brother who found the whole thing surprising.

  4. Obviously the guy was a criminal. He was caught shoplifting, and pointed a gun at an officer. If it was a first time offense or not, he's a criminal. Most brothers I know wouldn't call there brother out while being interviewed about his death anyway. And, I think you would be surprised as to how many people carry guns, lax-laws, legal or not.

  5. Obviously the guy was a criminal? I'm sure you know all the facts in this story. My biggest concern is that there were plenty of surveillance cameras in Smith's, but yet none of the footage has been released or what 'actually' happened has been disclosed. The police have handled this whole problem very poorly and have not been forthright with all the information. They have worded every press release to their favor and have tried to discredit Ethington in multiple ways as to paint him as a criminal. I think over the next couple months a lot will come forward showing the police made a serious error in judgement.

  6. It's not obvious to me that he was a criminal. But as you said, more details should come out.