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Trolley police hero makes his initial court appearance

OGDEN — A police officer hailed as a hero for stopping the massacre at the Trolley Square mall appeared here in court, accused of a crime.

Ken Hammond made his initial appearance Tuesday on a charge of unlawful sexual conduct with a 16- or 17-year-old, a third-degree felony. A preliminary hearing was scheduled for March 2, where a judge will decide if there's enough evidence to make him stand trial.

"In my conversations with prosecutors, I understand they will bring in the alleged victim for the preliminary hearing," Hammond's attorney, Brenda Beaton, told 2nd District Judge Pamela Heffernan.

As he left court, Hammond was approached by a bailiff who wished him well. He recently quit the Ogden Police Department amid an internal affairs probe connected to the criminal charges and a civil lawsuit accusing him of misconduct.

"I'm not going to be commenting, thank you," Hammond, 35, told the Deseret News as he left the courthouse, accompanied by his wife.

According to the criminal charges, Hammond is accused of engaging in a sex act with someone at least 10 years younger than he was back in 2005. Deputy Weber County attorney Sandra Corp told reporters outside of court the alleged victim is now 20.

"The facts in this case are the facts that they are, and they'll come out at the hearing," Corp said. "And the judge will make a determination if we go forward."

Hammond is also facing a civil lawsuit accusing him of violating a woman's rights during her husband's DUI arrest. Natasha Child never filed a complaint with police, but contends in her lawsuit that Hammond abused her and pulled her pants down while she was handcuffed.

Ogden police have denied any wrongdoing.

Hammond was decorated for his heroism in stopping the killing spree at the Trolley Square mall in February 2007. The officer was off-duty and on an early Valentine's date with his wife when Sulejman Talovic, 18, opened fire. Five people were killed and four were wounded before Hammond got into a shootout with Talovic, keeping him distracted until Salt Lake police arrived.

Talovic was shot and killed by police.

E-mail: bwinslow@desnews.com