Tuesday night, the friends of Scott Bush gathered to mourn their friend, who was shot and killed that morning after a confrontation with a Sandy police officer.
"We packed up his stuff. It was kind of weird, you know, it was like, man, he's really gone," said Bush's friend Joe Merrill. "I wonder if it had to happen like that. I wonder if there wasn't some other way to resolve it."Friends since grammar school, Merrill said Bush was a "good kid" who was well-liked and had lots of friends.
"I don't know anyone who has any bad memories of Scott," Merrill said Wednesday from his family home in Holladay, where Bush had been living since his parents moved to California a few months ago. "He was fun to be around . . . always the life of the party making everyone laugh. That's why it's so tragic. He left on good terms with so many people."
Merrill, 21, last saw Bush around midnight Monday. Bush, a waiter at a Salt Lake steak house, who had just enrolled at Salt Lake Community College, rushed in and out of the house, saying he'd be back shortly.
Hours later, Merrill's father woke him to say that Bush had been killed.
Bush, 21, tussled with Sandy police officer Derk Schmidt, 27, in a Draper neighborhood about 4 a.m. after Bush fled in his car when the officer tried to pull him over.
Witnesses told police they heard the officer and Bush arguing and saw Schmidt approach Bush's Nissan Pathfinder and lean into the car. Apparently Bush attempted to flee, pressing down on the gas pedal and dragging the officer about 50 feet.
At some point a shot was fired and Bush was wounded. Bush's car then careened into a garage at a home, 11879 S. Blue Heron Way (980 East).
Police have yet to determine if Schmidt actually pulled the trigger or if the gun went off accidentally during a struggle.
Schmidt, a K-9 officer who has worked for Sandy for three years, was listed in satisfactory condition at LDS Hospital Wednesday morning. Investigators anticipated interviewing the officer Wednesday, Sandy police Sgt. Kevin Thacker said.
Merrill is anxious to hear more details of the incident. Bush had spent several days in jail not long ago for some unpaid traffic violations and was not interested in repeating that experience, Merrill said.
"I'm sure that was going through his mind when he ran into the police," Merrill said. "He had a really bad experience in jail, and he had a court date coming up. I'm sure he thought if he got in trouble again, he'd be going back to jail."
Bush was slated for a Jan. 19 pretrial conference on a class B misdemeanor charge of soliciting with intent for another to commit a crime, for an August 1998 incident in Salt Lake City, according to 3rd District Court records.
He entered a not guilty plea in November. There were no outstanding warrants for his arrest, according to court records. Thacker said a search by Sandy police also revealed no outstanding warrants and no previous problems in Sandy.
"I know he was going through some tough times. He didn't seem as happy as he'd been," Merrill said.