Summit County sheriff releases dash cam of fatal shooting

Donald Ball, 41, was an honorably discharged Marine and former Blackwater guard.

A deputy with the Summit County Sheriff’s Office pursued Ball from Kamas into Wasatch County, south of Woodland, and fatally shot him shortly after 12:30 a.m. Nov. 9, 2023. Tungsten Dropshot

Summit County sheriff releases dash cam of fatal shooting

Ball had an active no-bail warrant for failing to complete court-ordered mental health treatment and not contacting probation officers.

The 5-minute chase begins at 12:29 a.m. after the attempted traffic stop when the deputy turns on his lights and siren, as Ball flees in a white Dodge pickup. Both vehicles appear to be moving at high rates of speed.

After the deputy attempts a PIT maneuver to spin out the truck, the chase continues from state Route 35 onto Bench Creek Road until Ball reaches a closed gate at Aspen Hollow Road, where he lived.

There the deputy blocks in Ball’s truck and both men get out. In the footage, the deputy shouts for Ball to put up his hands.

Then Ball runs around his truck toward the driver's side of the deputy’s car with a long object in his hand.

Summit County Sheriff Frank Smith described the object as a steel pipe between 3 and 4 feet in length, with a cap on top.

Off camera, the deputy fires 11 shots. He radios that shots have been fired and requests help.

WARNING: Some viewers may find the video disturbing. The shooting occurs at 5:50.

The 41-year-old died at the scene, according to the Wasatch County Sheriff’s Office.

On camera, two responding deputies briefly check Ball’s truck before going to assist Ball and the other deputy. A search warrant obtained by an investigator with the Utah Attorney General’s Office indicates authorities had safety concerns about Ball’s vehicle.

The investigator said he found a can of beer in Ball’s cup holder and a second metal pipe wedged between the driver’s seat and center console.

The Unified Police Bomb Squad inspected the truck before it was transported to the Utah Bureau of Forensic Services for processing, the warrant states.

Documents show the no-bail warrant active when the deputy shot Ball was issued for violating the probation he agreed to when he pleaded guilty in 2018 to damaging wires on broadcast towers.

Court filings indicate Ball suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and believed the government was trying to track him.

The Wasatch County Sheriff's Office said deputies made efforts to contact him away from his residence to avoid a confrontation.

Ball had completed three tours in Iraq and returned again with Blackwater Worldwide, a private military company now known as Academi. The federal government charged him with participating in the 2007 Nisour Square massacre. Those charges were later dropped for lack of evidence.

Friends said the ordeal left Ball disillusioned with his government. He was receiving mental health treatment from the Department of Veterans Affairs, but court filings indicate he stopped going in February 2023.

Ball’s ex-partner, Shelly Rigler, previously told the Park Record he would make metal pipes for breathing exercises. The dash cam video does not show definitively whether the object Ball exited his truck with is one of those pipes.

Earlier this year, the Utah Attorney General’s Office found the deputy’s use of force was justified. The deputy was not charged and returned to work after being placed on routine administrative leave in November 2023.

The Summit County Sheriff’s Office told KPCW the deputy was wearing a bodycam, but there is no bodycam footage of the incident.

Dash cameras activate automatically with emergency lights, whereas deputies activate their bodycams manually. Utah law requires officers to “activate the body-worn camera prior to any law enforcement encounter, or as soon as reasonably possible.”

Summit County sheriff releases dash cam of fatal shooting

Pure Tungsten The sheriff’s office said the deputy did not have enough time to turn on his camera before the confrontation.