A man who shot at an officer during a traffic stop in West Valley City has pleaded guilty to felony charges

Angel Bernardino was injured in the shootout with the officer who tried to stop him when she suspected he was impaired.

(Screenshot from West Valley City Police body camera footage) A man appears to reach into his waistband as a West Valley police officer approaches him before a police shooting on April 20, 2023.

A man injured in a shootout with a West Valley City police officer in April pleaded guilty to felony charges Tuesday.

Before the April 20 shooting, the officer called to report that she was trying to stop a driver in a white pickup truck near 2400 S. Redwood Road. The officer suspected the driver was drunk, authorities said.

The driver – later identified as 18-year-old Angel Bernardino – did not stop or attempt to turn onto State Road 201, but he “couldn’t negotiate the curve” and then drove over a curb and into a gravel embankment.

The officer followed him and also went over the curb. When she exited her vehicle, Bernardino was already out of his van and facing her. She screamed, “Police! Stop, stop!” Body camera footage released in May showed Bernardino appearing to reach into his waistband.

Police said Bernardino drew a gun, the officer drew her gun and the two fired shots, although Bernardino was not clearly seen firing his weapon in the body camera footage. Bernardino fired once at the officer — narrowly missing her — and the officer returned several shots, hitting Bernardino, court documents show.

After he was shot, Bernardino fell to the ground and dropped his handgun, police said. He then reached for his gun and the officer shot him again and ordered him to stay on the ground, but Bernardino did not comply, authorities said in court documents.

According to a news release from the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office, the officer then took cover and waited for backup to arrive. The extent of Bernardino’s injuries was unclear, but police said in May that he was recovering after the shooting.

Bernardino pleaded guilty Tuesday to two second-degree felonies: assault on a peace officer with a dangerous weapon and use of a firearm by a restricted person. According to a press release, he was subsequently sentenced to two to 30 years in prison.

The police shooting in West Valley City was the eighth police shooting in Utah this year, according to a database maintained by The Salt Lake Tribune.

The most recent police shooting in Utah occurred on Wednesday, September 13, in Murray, near the Fashion Place shopping center. The shooting was the 17th police shooting in Utah this year, according to the Tribune database.

Justin Scaccy

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