updated 12/26/2010 11:14:49 AM ET 2010-12-26T16:14:49

Police shot and killed a man after he refused to drop his shotgun and headed toward a group of people on a Christmas Day stroll outside a Mormon Temple in the state of Utah, authorities said.

The man had been in an altercation Saturday afternoon in the parking lot outside the Oquirrh Mountain Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, South Jordan police Lt. Dan Starks said.

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"The adult male armed with a shotgun had become involved with at least one other person on the temple grounds," Starks told The Associated Press.

He said police arrived shortly afterward and repeatedly ordered the shotgun-toting man to drop the weapon.

"While carrying the shotgun, he fled from the officers toward where there were other people," he said.

Starks said an officer fired just once, killing the man.

He said officers feared for both their safety and for people on the grounds enjoying the weather and the views from the temple.

Officers found numerous weapons, including guns, swords and ammunition, inside the dead man's car, Starks said.

The man was described as white and middle-aged, but Starks said police were withholding his name until family could be notified.

Starks said the officer has been placed on administrative leave pending an internal investigation and a review by the Salt Lake County district attorney's office.

Police did not release any other details, including how the altercation began.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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