CENTERVILLE — Police said Monday an officer had little choice but to shoot a suicidal man Sunday after the man pointed a gun at officers.
Molly Ferrand called 911 at 3:28 p.m. and informed a dispatcher that she and her husband had been fighting because he believed a mutual friend had made an inappropriate advance toward her. She said her husband, Vincent John Farrand, had a gun and was on his way to the Bountiful man's home, according to a statement from Centerville police.
The woman also said her husband was suicidal.
A few minutes later, dispatchers received another call that Vincent Farrand had returned home to 550 S. 300 East in Centerville. Officers arrived at 3:34 p.m. Molly Farrand came out of the home and was removed from the scene by one of the officers, police said.
Two other officers then confronted Vincent Farrand, 39, who came out of the home with a gun in his hand.
"They were attempting to engage him in a dialogue and asking him to, you know, put the gun down and the officer was basically pleading with him to put the gun down," Centerville Assistant Police Chief Paul Child said.
Child said Vincent Farrand was holding the gun and had his finger on the trigger. "According to the officer, Vincent then pointed the handgun at the officer," the police statement said.
At 3:40 p.m., dispatchers were informed that shots had been fired and the suspect was in need of medical assistance. Paramedics responded, but Vincent Farrand was ultimately pronounced dead at the scene.
"Ultimately, if they are armed and they pose a threat to the officers or anyone else, that threat is going to be taken seriously," Child said. "It's a split-second decision just like any other armed confrontation that we may have."
Only one of the three officers fired shots, but it was unclear how many shots were fired and how many hit Farrand.
"When they arm themselves with things such as knives or guns, then that creates a not only a dangerous situation for themselves, but anyone and everyone that's nearby," Child said. "At that point, it becomes priority to get them to where they're not a danger to anyone else and hopefully in the process that they're not going to be injured themselves."
Suicide is the eighth leading cause of death for Utahns, and Utah ranks seventh in the nation, according to the Utah Department of Health.
The department also reports that one in 15 adults have had serious thoughts of suicide. That is enough to fill the EnergySolutions Arena 13 times, according to the health department.
Kim Myers, suicide prevention coordinator for the Utah Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health, said for those who have such thoughts, hope and help are available.
"We know suicide thoughts are fairly common and that we need to kind of reach out and support each other and reduce some of the stigma from that. As common as suicidal thoughts are, we know most people don't act on them. So that gives us all the hope of intervening," she said.
Anyone is welcome to call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
"Just because you're having thoughts of suicide doesn't mean you need to act on them," Myers said.
Training courses are available to help community members recognize the onset of a mental health disorder or related crisis.
"As community members, if we can recognize those crises and intervene early, hopefully over time we can really avoid some of these more traumatic outcomes," Myers said.
Those interested in participating in a mental health course should contact Myers at 801-538-4028 to find their local course.
"One of the core components of a lot of these trainings is don't be afraid to talk to someone directly if you think they're at risk for suicide," she said. "Reach out and be direct.
Myers also said if police are involved, those calling 911 should ask for a crisis intervention team officers. Such officers have special training in mental health and suicide-related crisis and de-escalating situations.
Child said officers are trained to respond to armed suicide situations with multiple officers, to remove bystanders and de-escalate the situation.
"It's not a normal situation," Child said. "It is a critical incident and it's a traumatic incident. It's traumatic to the family, spouse and kids."
As someone who has been involved in a shooting, Child said such incidents definitely impact the officers both mentally and emotionally.
"It's something that weighs heavy on the officers' minds," he said. "And it'll be something that has to be kind of worked out."
Sunday's case is under investigation by the Davis County Attorney's Office and the county's Officer Involved Critical Incident Investigation Protocol Team. Clearfield police are also investigating the shooting.