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HUNT IN SHOOTING OF OFFICER HALTED

The search for suspects who allegedly shot a Salina police officer was canceled Friday after an investigation raised doubts about the officer's story.

Physical evidence found at the scene of the alleged shooting and on officer Jim McDonald conflicted greatly with the original report, according to a Sevier County sheriff's office report. Police refused to elaborate on those differences.Upon hearing of discrepancies, McDonald changed his original account of the shooting, the report said.

That second account, said the report, "shows even less consistency with the actual physical evidence collected."

When contacted by the Deseret News, Sevier County Sheriff John Meacham refused to give any further information. "There's nothing more to say at this time. I can't comment on a Salina officer. The county has just been involved with the investigation."

Salina police also refused comment, deferring questions to Salina county officials. McDonald and Salina Police Chief Gordon Kiesel could not be reached.

McDonald was released Thursday from Sevier Valley Hospital in good condition after he said he was shot during an early morning attempt to check a parked car on I-70.

McDonald originally said he went to investigate the car at about 12:15 a.m. Thursday. He allegedly saw a man standing near the vehicle. When he asked the man to show his hands, McDonald said he heard shots ring out from behind him.

McDonald told investigators he was shot twice in the back and twice in the chest as he turned to return fire. Another bullet allegedly grazed his forehead, and two more rounds struck his car. Investigators had believed McDonald's bulletproof vest saved his life.

McDonald said he then crawled to his car to radio for help. When officers arrived, the car and suspects were gone. McDonald was not able to give a clear description of the car or suspects.

Officers had set up regional roadblocks in attempts to locate suspects. Roadblocks were removed Friday.

McDonald was hired as a Salina police officer May 15. Before that, he worked for the Utah Department of Corrections for seven years, most recently as a sergeant in the enforcement bureau at the Central Utah Correctional Facility in Gunnison.

McDonald is now on medical leave, Meacham said.