Moab Police Chief Jim Winder recognized eight law enforcement officers for their service at Tuesday’s meeting of the Moab City Council.
Moab Police Officer Thomas Talbert and Grand County Deputy Austin Brewer specifically received commendations for bravery. Talbert and Brewer intervened when Patrick Trujillo, 31 at the time, threatened patrons at the Club Rio bar and fired a shot.
Brewer and Talbert arrived within two minutes of receiving calls from bar patrons, Winder said. Video surveillance showed that Brewer stood between Trujillo and bar patrons and began questioning Trujillo, who became furtive and “almost combative,” Winder said. Brewer and Talbert attempted to subdue Trujillo. Bar patrons could be seen in the video indicating with gestures that Trujillo had a gun, however the patrons did not leave the scene.
“Individuals instead of leaving the bar took out their cameras and began photographing,” Winder said. “While their photographing was going on, the individual was able to get the firearm out and fire a round inside the very crowded bar. Deputy Brewer reached down and grabbed the semi-automatic pistol and placed his hand in between the slide of that firearm, preventing it from discharging a second time.”
Utah Highway Patrol officers, Grand County deputies and other Moab City police officers raced to the scene, arriving within three minutes of the initial encounter, Winder said.
Trujillo was taken into custody “using a significant amount of manpower to do so,” Winder said. Other weapons were found inside the backpack Trujillo was wearing.
“Often times, in rural communities, I feel that people believe that situations that I’ve just described to you can never happen. That is a mistake. It’s a mistake that can cost people their lives,” Winder said. “Your actions, along with others, responding to a report of an armed suspect who had and continued to discharge his weapon on a crowded street ... unquestionably prevented the loss of life or injury to responding officers, the suspect and the citizens we serve,” said Winder.
Six other officers and staff members were also recognized for their service: Moab officers Monty Risenhoover, Braydon Palmer and Corporal Aaron Woodard; Grand County Deputy Brandon Black and Sgt. Levi Mallory; and Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Jarom Olsen.
“It’s important to remember that their actions would have been even more difficult without a team,” Winder said. “Law enforcement is a team… All these individuals deserve significant recognition.”
Grand County Sheriff Steven White also commended the officers.
“This shows you the caliber of law enforcement that you have in this community. I agree with what Chief Winder said, it takes a team effort and I’m excited about where things are going,” White said.
The officers and staff involved received commemorative plaques from Winder and from Mayor Dave Sakrison.