CRITICAL INCIDENT TASK FORCE
BARRY GOLDING/INVESTIGATIONS BUREAU CHIEF
WASHINGTON COUNTY ATTORNEY’S OFFICE
33 NORTH 100 WEST, SUITE 200
ST. GEORGE, UTAH 84770
Date: March 17, 2021
Initial Investigation Information
For Immediate Release
Officer Involved Critical Incident in Washington City
On March 16, 2021, around 2:39 PM, law enforcement officers received a report of a male suspect driving erratically and pointing a gun at multiple people in the area of 20 North Red Trail Lane in Washington City. Law enforcement officers located the suspect near Washington Parkway and Telegraph Street. When officers attempted to stop the suspect’s vehicle, the suspect fled at a high rate of speed. Officers did not initially engage in a high-speed pursuit. The suspect was located a short time later near 20 North Red Trail Lane where he stopped his vehicle and fled on foot.
The suspect ran into an apartment at 20 North Red Trail Lane and he was subsequently identified as Augustus James Cole (age 33). Mr. Cole barricaded himself inside his apartment and the Washington County Metro SWAT team responded to the scene. The residents living in the apartments surrounding the incident were evacuated. Over the next several hours multiple officers reported seeing Mr. Cole through the windows of the apartment holding various firearms. Mr. Cole also put a sign on his window telling the police he has a 45 caliber firearm and 12 gauge shotgun.
Mr. Cole spoke with law enforcement negotiators various times while barricaded in his apartment. He communicated that he would shoot anyone who came to the front door. He also repeatedly refused to come into police custody.
Around 9:20 PM, officers reported that Mr. Cole pointed a shotgun in their direction and a SWAT officer fired one round from his rifle, striking Mr. Cole in the abdomen. Mr. Cole continued to barricade himself inside the apartment and communicate with law enforcement negotiators. During the incident, the SWAT team used tear gas and an explosive to open the apartment’s front door. Mr. Cole eventually surrendered around 11:52 PM and was then transported to the hospital and treated for the gunshot wound. He was then booked into the Washington County Jail for multiple charges including aggravated assault, possession of a weapon by a restricted person, and drug possession.
Any time a law enforcement officer uses deadly force in the area, the Washington County Critical Incident Taskforce conducts a thorough investigation into whether the use of force was justified. The taskforce is led by Barry Golding, the chief investigator for the Washington County Attorney’s office. It is composed of experience law enforcement officers from various agencies in the county. Questions may be directed to Chief Golding at the contact information above. This is an active investigation and additional information will be released as it develops.