4 officers placed on administrative leave after Cedar City shooting; suspect identified

CEDAR CITY — Four Cedar City Police officers have been placed on administrative leave after firing their weapons at a suspect during an incident Sunday night.

Iron County Jail booking photo of Larry Tessier, Cedar City, Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of Iron County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News / Cedar City News

The suspect, identified as 36-year-old Larry Joseph Lee Tessier, remains hospitalized in critical condition with multiple gunshot wounds, Iron County Sheriff’s Lt. Del Schlosser, spokesman for the Iron/Garfield/Beaver Critical Incident Task Force, told reporters Monday morning.

Schlosser said the incident began around 8 p.m. Sunday, when officers responded to a report of an assault. That incident involved Tessier and a 39-year-old man, who was injured and taken to the hospital, Schlosser said.

When police arrived at the scene, Tessier had already fled in a blue SUV, later identified by authorities as a Ford Expedition. After officers were able to locate the vehicle and began pursuing it, the ensuing chase went through the northern part of Cedar City and reached as far north as 3000 North, Schlosser said, adding that it circled back around and ultimately ended in a rural area near 2400 North and 400 West. 

Although officers deployed tire-flattening spikes and attempted at least two PIT maneuvers to disable Tessier’s vehicle during the chase, he did not stop, Schlosser said.

The scene of an officer involved shooting that occurred on the evening of Feb. 14, Cedar City, Utah, Feb. 15, 2021 | Photo courtesy of Iron County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News / Cedar City News

“It looks like at some point he made contact with one of the law enforcement vehicles after one of those PIT maneuvers, at which time four officers from Cedar City Police Department discharged their weapons, striking Mr. Tessier,” Schlosser said, adding that Tessier was treated at the scene initially, after which he was transported to Cedar City Hospital, then later flown to St. George Regional Hospital. 

The four officers who discharged their weapons have been placed on administrative leave, as is routine protocol, pending an investigation to determine whether the use of deadly force was justified.

“For Cedar City Police Department, having four officers on administrative leave is very impactful,” Schlosser said. “That is pretty much an entire shift or a majority of that shift.”

Other agencies will step up to assist the police department in covering their calls, Schlosser added.

Schlosser said Tessier had a weapon on him that was allegedly used in the initial assault, but the type of weapon is not being released at this time.

Other details of the shooting, including how many shots were fired and what prompted the officers to shoot, are still under investigation, Schlosser added.

Tow truck removes suspect vehicle from the scene of an officer involved shooting that occurred on the evening of Feb. 14 near 400 West and 2400 North. Photo taken in Cedar City, Utah, Feb. 15, 2021 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

Cedar City News observed Tessier’s vehicle being removed from the scene by a tow truck Monday morning. It was taken to Iron County Sheriff’s Office for processing. The Iron/Garfield/Beaver Critical Incident Task Force is handling the investigation.

Court records show Tessier currently has a pending case involving aggravated burglary, assault, criminal mischief and DUI. That incident reportedly happened in March 2020; he pleaded not guilty to all four charges in December.

This is a developing story.

This report is based on information provided by law enforcement and may not contain the full scope of findings. Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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