Case closed without charges in fatal Leeds shooting; county attorney discusses possible motive

ST. GEORGE – Deputy Washington County Attorney Ryan Shaum discussed details Friday surrounding a fatal shooting that occurred in Leeds in July and a decision that has been made by the Washington County Attorney’s Office not to bring any charges in the case.

“Once all the evidence did come in, we affirmed what it appeared from the beginning, and that was a self-defense claim,” Shaum said.

The investigation into the July shooting was quietly resolved in September, and the Washington County Attorney’s Office determined, based on the evidence, that the man who had committed the shooting, a retired law enforcement officer not from Southern Utah, had acted in self-defense.

The incident occurred at a residence on Silverado Court in Leeds just after 8 p.m. on July 17. Leeds resident Stephen Aizenberg, 70, reportedly approached his neighbor’s home armed with a handgun, pointing the weapon at the home’s occupants and a man and several women who were visiting there, according to information from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office at the time the shooting occurred. When Aizenberg continued approaching with his weapon drawn, one of the visitors, a retired law enforcement officer, drew a gun he was carrying and shot Aizenberg. Aizenberg was pronounced dead at the scene.

The reason Aizenberg approached his neighbor’s home with a drawn weapon remains unknown to investigators.

“I think that is a question that everyone, including (Aizenberg’s) family, is asking,” Shaum said. “We’re not quite sure. We can speculate, but we’re not quite sure.”

Shaum said the only possible motive the County Attorney’s Office has speculatively deduced from the evidence is that possibly Aizenberg didn’t recognize his neighbor’s visitors and, therefore, thought they were intruders and was investigating the situation when the shooting occurred.

“There could be other reasons,” Shaum said, “but there was nothing to suggest the shooter had ever met Mr. Aizenberg before.”

“It was just an unfortunate accident,” he added.

Shaum said nothing in Aizenberg’s autopsy report and nothing in the physical evidence collected at the scene suggested anything other than self-defense had been a factor in the shooting.

“There weren’t any red flags that came up in the case at all,” he said.

Shaum said the case was not a complex matter when all was said and done, and unless new evidence comes to light in the future, it is now closed and will remain so.

“As in any case, we would be more than happy to look at and consider any evidence that might come in,” he said, “but at this point, the case is closed.”

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  • Bender October 31, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    When two concealed permit holders meet in a righteous showdown, the dead man takes the fall as the bad/looney guy. Let that be a lesson… shoot first, ask questions later. The county attorney may give you a pass if your opponent can’t defend his actions. The county attorney may not even release your name to the public.
    Only when every adult is packing will we be truly safe.

  • Zonkerb October 31, 2014 at 7:51 pm

    Lmao I love it idiots go around pointing guns at people need to be shot and removed from society.. some idiot point a gun at me is going to get shot to……… To the shooter….. I say GOOD SHOT

    • Koolaid October 31, 2014 at 11:25 pm

      And you don’t need a permit for it!

  • Kev October 31, 2014 at 10:02 pm

    Bender. Think about it. The deceased came on another mans property armed and uninvited. It was not his place to investigate a crime if one were underway. I know that the deceased was spoken to by the others on the property. It is a sad end to a sad case.

    • Bender November 1, 2014 at 9:33 am

      Like I said KEV, in a perfect NRA world every man is packing. That way any simple misunderstanding can end in a glorious gunbattle. Freedom. USA, USA!

      • Ishmot2 November 2, 2014 at 12:10 pm

        No Bender, people are polite and mind their own business in an armed society. you don’t walk into other peoples yards with a gun in your hands asking Questions.You’re an IDIOT! The dead idiot was probably mad someone was parked in the road or somewhere he thought they shouldn’t be, knowing rich a$$holes.

        • Bender November 4, 2014 at 7:59 pm

          Like I said, once the guns are out, the guy that lives is the hero. Had the other guy lived you’d be praising him for protecting his neighbor’s property from some moron who pulled his gun inappropriately.

  • Just Me.... October 31, 2014 at 10:16 pm

    The dead man’s behavior was bizarre to say the least…why walk up to people if you think they are wrongdoing? Why not call the police and let them investigate? He must have been afraid to go over there alone or he would not have carried a gun. So many questions he cannot answer and no one else knows. Either way, if he raised a weapon the right to protect himself and his family belonged with the shooter. RIP.

  • ladybugavenger November 1, 2014 at 9:09 am

    If it wasn’t involving a retired polic officer would the result be different?

    • Steve November 1, 2014 at 10:30 am

      I am surprised that you are not somehow comparing this story to leaving your child in a hot car to die. Good for you. The only different result would have been that a less proficient shooter may have missed. Self defense does not only apply to retired police officers. It applies to everyone, even moms that leave their babies in hot cars.

  • My Evil Twin November 1, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    We will never know what was going through the elderly gentleman’s mind. Was he totally senile? Was he angry? Or was he just using very poor judgement in going to “investigate” something that didn’t seem right to him. We will never know.
    But what we do know, is the outcome. And (as much as I hate to agree with our “esteemed” county attorney,) he made the only logical decision he could.
    Anyone who has ever been in any kind of firefight knows better than to point a gun at somebody “to scare” them. I can’t think of a faster way to get killed.
    I feel for this elderly gentleman’s family. But I also feel for the retired copper who did what he thought he had to do. This is something that will live with him forever. And it is something that an awful lot of folks who are “licensed to carry,” are not prepared to deal with. In fact, most of them probably don’t have any idea of the grief and misery that awaits them beyond the decision to use their weapon.
    And then we have the idiots who have absolutely no idea what they are talking about, that condemn a person for defending them-self or someone else.

    • Bender November 1, 2014 at 12:52 pm

      Just so I got this straight EVIL TWIN, if someone is holding a gun pointing in your general direction, you are good to go on an immediate execution of the gun holder?

      • My Evil Twin November 1, 2014 at 7:28 pm

        I would strongly suggest that you not try it to find out.

        • Bender November 4, 2014 at 7:55 pm

          Ah, a man of mystery. Mebee he kills you, mebee he don’t. All we know is that the EVIL TWIN gains a healthy dose of self esteem by packin.

      • Ishmot2 November 2, 2014 at 12:12 pm

        In your case you should let them shoot you!

  • Koolaid November 2, 2014 at 1:57 pm

    Stupid cowboy mentality of someone trying to go on another’s land acting like a sheriff or mercenary arm of the law and got himself killed for acting like a cowboy.

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