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 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.
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