Felony charges filed in Washington City shoot-out case, investigation ongoing

ST. GEORGE – Washington County Attorney Brock Belnap filed charges on an arrest warrant today against Jamon Val Cranney*, the Washington City man involved in the shoot-out with Washington City Police on July 20. Cash only bail was set at $100,000.

The charges

The charges are brought on behalf of the State of Utah as plaintiff, against Cranney, as defendant. Cranney is charged with:

•  Two counts of attempted aggravated murder; first-degree felonies. These counts each carry a term of not fewer than three years and which may be for life.

•  One count of possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person (a restricted person is a person who is not supposed to possess any type of a firearm, a felon for example); second-degree felony. This count carries a sentence term of one to 15 years.

•  One count of theft by receiving a stolen firearm; second-degree felony.  This count carries a sentence term of one to 15 years.

•  Two counts of failure to respond to an officer’s signal to stop; third-degree felonies. These counts each carry a term of zero to five years.

Arraignment is scheduled for Monday at 1:30 p.m. before the Fifth District Court; Cranney will likely appear by video from Purgatory Correctional Facility as is common practice.

Summary of the precipitating incident

According to the probable cause affidavit of Raleigh Morris, detective with the Hurricane City Police Department and member of the Washington County Critical Incident Task Force, filed today in support of the charges, the sequence of events leading to and ending in the shoot-out summarily include:

Cranney was pulled over by Washington City Police Officer Chris Ray at approximately 3:10 p.m on July 20, for failing to yield to a pedestrian walking a bike through a crosswalk.  As Ray was running a records check, Cranney drove away.  Short pursuit followed with the officer terminating pursuit, believing he was only wanted for a traffic offense. Dispatch then notified Ray that Cranney was on felony probation. The officer then spotted Cranney again around 4 p.m., attempted to stop him and called in back-up support. Chase ensued and Cranney eventually drove his car straight at the two pursuing officers and then turned perpendicular to their cars and began firing a gun toward them. As the officers maneuvered their vehicles they could no longer retreat in their vehicles. The affidavit states they retrieved their AR-15 rifles, exited their cars and took cover behind their cars. Meanwhile, Cranney circled around, stopped his car in front of the officers, opened his door, stepped out , took a standing two-handed grip position with his gun and pointed the weapon directly toward the officers, fired, adjusted his aim and fired again. The officers returned fire. Cranney got back in his car and started driving in reverse. He and his vehicle were hit by the officers’ bullets and the car came to a stop.

Cranney hospitalized, held and arrested

Cranney was taken from the scene of the shoot-out to Intermountain Healthcare’s Dixie Regional Medical Center for treatment. He received multiple gunshot wounds.

Sr. Deputy Attorney for Washington County, Brian Filter, said Cranney’s state at that time left no possibility of his leaving the hospital. An Adult Probation and Parole Warrant hold was subsequently placed on him by the Washington City Police Department, and he was then arrested on those charges. When it was determined that he might be able to get up and leave, might pose a security threat, Cranney was put under guard in custody at the hospital, where he has remained to date.

Specifics on the transfer are not given for security reasons, but Filter said Cranney’s transfer to Purgatory Correctional Facility, the county jail, is imminent.

The investigation is ongoing.

Washington County Critical Incident Task Force

Washington County has a Critical Incident Task Force. It operates under the purview of the Washington County Attorney, with the concept that agencies other than the agency involved conduct investigations in certain incidents. The trigger for the Critical Incident Team’s involvement is when an officer is involved in the potential use of deadly force.

County Attorney Brock Belnap said that this incident between Washington City Police and Cranney is the first officer-involved shooting in which his office has gotten involved.

“We have a protocol that each city has signed off on, and each city contributes one of their more seasoned detectives or investigators,” Belnap said. “When an event happens, they call me … it’s generally a fairly large team.”

The Critical Incident Team then detects whether the shooting was justified, handles the criminal investigation in determining whether charges should be filed against the suspect, and deals with the media.

Internal Agency Review

Distinct from the investigation of the Critical Incident Team, it is commonplace for agencies to conduct their own Internal Affairs investigation in these kinds of incidents as well. Report on such an investigation within the Washington City Police Department is beyond the scope of this article.

* Persons arrested are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.

Email: jkuzmanic@stgnews.com

Twitter: @JoyceKuzmanic

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2012, all rights reserved.

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19 Comments

  • J. Miller August 3, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    The .223 is a pathetic round and failed again to stop this would be killer. A shotgun slug would have penetrated the car and killed the suspect.

  • Nelson August 3, 2012 at 6:52 pm

    I agree the .233 is weak. The rapid fire is more desirable than a shotgun but the rounds are easily defeated by barriers.

  • Gunter August 3, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    This incident was more of a cry for help than the act of a vicious killer on the loose. Hopefully he can receive some mental help and seek out the enjoyment found in life.

  • Headshot August 3, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    This Imbecile was shooting at Police. Shot placement should have meant everything, not caliber!

  • Nelson August 4, 2012 at 9:12 am

    The barrier of the car doors and windows prevented the shots from being fatal. A shotgun slug or larger rifle round would have penetrated the barriers and killed him. Gunter shooting at a human being is not a cry for help. It is the actions of a evil man.

  • Murat August 4, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    I have interacted with this kid a couple of times. He is a good kid. Just because he was trying to shoot a police officer does not make him a bad person.

    • gumpki August 5, 2012 at 10:50 am

      It doesn’t? I would think that would guarantee you are a bad person when you try to kill another person.

      • Murat August 6, 2012 at 10:42 am

        It doesn’t. Soldiers kill other people mercilessly, and they are generally revered in our society, as an example. This kid in not a bad person.

    • Dghws August 10, 2012 at 8:19 pm

      Just one who made some very bad choices. The troubling thing here is that some don’t see behaving in such a way concerning.

  • gumpki August 5, 2012 at 10:48 am

    A .223 penetrates a car fine. The reason this round is chosen is to help prevent collateral damage after exiting the body. A lot of the time they are shooting in the streets where they don’t want the bullets to continue through buildings where innocent people are hiding behind the suspect.

  • Kelli August 6, 2012 at 7:55 am

    My condolences to the good people at Dixie Regional who had to waste their time and resources to care for this repeat offending piece of garbage.

    • Murat August 6, 2012 at 11:20 am

      That’s kind of a stupid thing to say since these people are handsomely compensated for their services. It’s not like they’re doing it out of the good of their hearts.

      • Dghws August 10, 2012 at 8:07 pm

        They had the choice to not do it…

  • Kelli August 6, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    You charmer, you 😉 No need to be coy – you’ve long been a fan of my comments, and reply to nearly every one of them! Just ask me out already, will you?? Or at least give us more wickedly clever zingers in the meantime!

  • DoubleTap August 7, 2012 at 9:36 am

    When you run from Police and then have the wherewithal to point a weapon and shoot at police, you WILL be shot. No ifs ands or buts about it. As for the ballistic performance of the police issue .223/5.56 round, in this case, was ineffective to a degree. As most law enforcement officers are now armed with this popular weapon (AR-15 in .223/5.56), it is concievable that the officers are now considered “under armed”. With the AR platformed weaponry there are now numerous calibers available that are greater performers than the .223/5.56 round. I personaly own AR’s in .308 win., 7.62X39, and other larger calibers that would have penetrated car doors, cinder block, brick and a variety of other materials. The local law enforcement agencies should really look into upgrading their armament so they are able to effectively protect themselves and the community. And yes, shot placement is crucial, had the officers involved strived for real threat containment, they would have excersied “headshots”.

  • p August 7, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    Funny how this story is all one sided……..do u all know FOR SURE he even fired a gun at the police? These officers are highly trained in weapons….don’t u think if they were being fired at they would have just killed him? There is a reason he is not dead!!!! Think about that!!!!!!!

  • Jo Mick August 10, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    IT”S A CONSPIRACY! The Police are ALWAYS the ones at fault….

  • j August 15, 2012 at 7:23 pm

    People are heartless. you seriously have nothing better to do than comment on how you think someone should be dead? You really have no idea what the situation is. you people are pieces of garbage for saying such inhumane things.

  • Marissa December 3, 2013 at 1:17 am

    I know this man he is not a bad person. He definitly made bad choices repeativly but had the the best intentions in mind. I know he loves his kids dearly and was really struggling with staying on the right path. I believe he wasnt in his right mind at the time of the incident whether that means drugs or severe emotionial distress. He has a good heart and has made think twice about the stories you read about people and the monsters that they may paint.

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