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Police building case in chief’s killing

Uintah County experts gathering forensic evidence

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Police in Uintah County are working around the clock to complete their investigation into the Friday night slaying of Roosevelt Police Chief Cecil Gurr and to build a murder case against the accused triggerman.

Forensic evidence experts worked by moonlight Saturday and Sunday nights examining the crime scene with advanced laser technology. West Valley Police Lt. Charles Illsley led the group in determining bullet trajectories and locating spent rounds from the shootout between Roosevelt City police officers and an armed man outside a Ballard, Duchesne County, convenience store.

The Uintah County Sheriff's Office is expected to wrap up the probe this week and turn its findings over to Uintah County Attorney Ken Wallentine for possible criminal charges against the alleged shooter.

"We've basically been working around the clock," Uintah County Sgt. Steve Hatzidakis said. He expects formal charges to be filed by the end of the week.

Gurr, 50, was shot and killed about 8:30 p.m. Friday after responding to a domestic dispute call at Maverik Country Store, 1025 E. 200 North. The off-duty chief was at a grocery store when he heard the call.

Police arrived to find the man and woman allegedly involved in the incident inside a vehicle in the parking lot, according to a statement from the Uintah County Sheriff's Office. After Gurr and his officers surrounded the truck, the man allegedly exited the vehicle and began firing at officers with a rifle. Officers, including Gurr, returned approximately 12 rounds. Neither the shooter nor his passenger were hit in the exchange. One shot struck Gurr in the head, killing him instantly.

The man allegedly got back in the truck and attempted to escape. Officers caught him about five blocks from the scene.

Lee Roy Wood, 35, was booked into the Uintah County Jail, where he remained Monday. The Vernal man was arrested on state and federal probation violations.

Wood's criminal history dates back to 1991, when a judge found him guilty of misdemeanor simple assault. The conviction is followed by a 1994 guilty plea to third-degree felony forgery and an October 2000 guilty plea to third-degree felony theft.

Also, Wood's wife in 1992 filed for a temporary protective order against her husband. The two later divorced, and in 1999 the woman requested a permanent protective order against Wood.

The identity of the woman involved in Friday's alleged domestic dispute has not been released, nor is it clear what her relationship is with Wood. Police say the information is not vital to their current investigation.

"At this point, with everything else that we're investigating, it's kind of a moot point as to what her name is, or what the relationship is," Hatzidakis said.

A funeral for the 28-year police veteran are scheduled for 1 p.m. Tuesday at the Roosevelt LDS West Stake Center. Gurr is survived by his wife, Lynette, three children and three grandchildren. Instead of flowers, the family has asked donations be made in Gurr's name to the Children's Justice Center, 130 N. 500 West, Roosevelt.

E-MAIL: awelling@desnews.com