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Off-duty Ogden officer who helped end shooting spree receives high praise

The off-duty Ogden police officer credited with helping end the deadly shooting spree Monday night at Trolley Square was having an early Valentine's Day dinner with his wife when he heard shots fired, told his wife to stay put and went to seek out the gunman, authorities said.

Salt Lake Police Chief Chris Burbank at a Tuesday press conference called the officer's action heroic.

"There's no question his quick actions saved the lives of numerous other people. ... The heroic acts of this individual officer going in and engaging the suspect who was well armed and prepared to engage him, without having benefit of the uniform, extra equipment, ... is truly heroic."

Burbank said it was "basically a shootout" between the Ogden officer and the gunman.

Ogden Police Chief Jon Greiner said the officer, whose name has not been released, has been with the department for six or seven years. Greiner said although the gunman, described as an 18-year-Bosnian immigrant shot at the officer, the officer was not injured. Greiner said the officer's wife was shaken, but is doing OK.

"It's understandable, there was considerable carnage."

Greiner said that upon hearing Monday night of the deadly shooting at Trolley Square, a three-member team from Ogden Police was sent to Salt Lake.

That team met with Salt Lake investigators and ferried the officer and his wife home because the couple's car was impounded.

"There is a lot of emotion and turmoil with this thing," Greiner said.

Greiner said officer involved has children, but he was at Trolley Square Monday night only with his wife. Although Greiner said he has not yet talked to the officer involved, he said when he does, he will say, "Thanks for being prepared."

Ogden police officers have the option of carrying weapons off duty, Greiner said, "just for this very reason."

But he stopped short of saying he had a sense of pride about the officer's actions.

"You don't want to ever say it's good that we were there to kill somebody but the reality of it is, it is probably a situation where it was very fortuitous that somebody was there," Greiner said.

It is not clear what weapon the officer was carrying, since department policy allows off-duty officers to carry a weapon of their own choosing. Greiner said department policy calls for an officer involved in a shooting to be put on leave with pay pending an investigation. That usually takes three or four weeks, he said.

The Senate is planning some sort of recognition for the officer, said Senate President John Valentine, R-Orem.


E-mail: amyjoi@desnews.com; lisa@desnews.com