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Man firing through door kills Ogden police officer, wounds agent

‘Our hearts are broken,’ chief says

Ogden Police Chief Randy Watt, right, prepares to make an emotional statement during a press conference at the Francom Public Safety Center in Ogden about the loss of an officer on Thursday, May 28, 2020. Police said one officer and a suspect were killed, while another officer was injured, in an exchange of gunfire earlier in the day.
Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

OGDEN — “Our hearts are broken. We’ve lost one of our own.”

An Ogden police officer with just 15 months on the job was shot and killed responding to a domestic violence call, an emotional Ogden Police Chief Randy Watt announced Thursday while flanked by Ogden Mayor Mike Caldwell and members of the City Council.

The officer was struck by gunfire “while protecting a family, his community and fellow officers around him,” he said.

An agent with Adult Probation and Parole was also shot and suffered injuries that are not considered to be life-threatening, the chief said. The gunman was found dead by members of the Ogden-Metro SWAT team inside his house a short time later.

Neither the name of the deceased officer nor the gunman were released Thursday. Watt took no questions during a press briefing Thursday, instead reading a brief statement while asking the public to give the officer’s family “time to grieve and come to grips with their loss.”

Utah Department of Corrections executive director Mike Haddon issued a brief statement Thursday afternoon saying the AP&P officer had been released from the hospital.

A Taylorsville and an Ogden law enforcement officer embrace after escorting the body of a fallen Ogden police officer to the Utah Medical Examiner’s Office in Taylorsville on Thursday, May 28, 2020. Police said one officer and a suspect were killed, while another officer was injured, in an exchange of gunfire earlier in the day.
A Taylorsville and an Ogden law enforcement officer embrace after escorting the body of a fallen Ogden police officer to the Utah Medical Examiner’s Office in Taylorsville on Thursday, May 28, 2020. Police said one officer and a suspect were killed, while another officer was injured, in an exchange of gunfire earlier in the day.
Laura Seitz, Deseret News

“One of our agents was struck by gunfire as he and his partner responded to an emergency call. Our agent has been treated and released from a local hospital for non-life-threatening wounds. We will not be releasing the name at this time. We have no further comment, except that our hearts are broken and we mourn with the Ogden Police Department for the loss of a fellow law enforcement officer. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of this fallen hero.”

About 12:15 p.m. Thursday, emergency dispatchers received a call from a woman who said her husband was trying to kill her, Watt said. The call then disconnected and attempts to call her back were unsuccessful.

An undisclosed number of officers responded to the home on the 300 block of Jackson Avenue. There, they were confronted by a man on the front porch of the home. The man was uncooperative with officers, and eventually went back into his house and slammed the door behind him, according to Watt.

“As officers moved quickly to the door in an attempt to follow the suspect, he began firing through the door,” the chief said.

Authorities Hold Update On Ogden Officer-Involved Shooting

LIVE: Police are providing an update on today's officer-involved shooting in Ogden. Updates can be found here: https://ksltv.com/438397/large-police-presence-on-jackson-ave-in-ogden-witnesses-say-shots-fired/

Posted by KSL 5 TV on Thursday, May 28, 2020

The two officers were hit. Other officers returned fire as they dragged the wounded Ogden police officer from the scene, Watt said. He was then taken to McKay-Dee Hospital where he was pronounced dead a short time later.

Dispatch recordings from Broadcastify depict an intense, chaotic scene. When the call for help comes, officers responding discuss whether this may be a person they dealt with a couple of weeks ago. About 10 minutes later, an officer interrupts another broadcast, yelling that an officer is down and help is needed as gunshots echo in the background.

After the officer was removed, police set up a perimeter around the house until members of the SWAT team arrived. Once the scene was secured, Watt said SWAT members successfully got children out of the house. While doing so, they were able to determine the gunman was dead, he said.

“I’m sorry I can’t say more at this time. Too much is still uncertain,” Watt said.

He expects the investigation will take a couple of days to complete and said more information will be released at that time.

Chopper 5 At Scene Of Officer Involved Shooting

LIVE: Chopper 5 is above an Ogden neighborhood where there was an officer-involved shooting earlier today. 2 officers shot, injuries unknown. Incident is over, police say

Posted by KSL 5 TV on Thursday, May 28, 2020

Yellow police tape closed off an entire block of Jackson Avenue Thursday afternoon while red police tape surrounded what appeared to be the area of the shooting. Thirteen orange pylons were in the street as evidence markers, possibly indicating the number of shell casings. Ogden Police Lt. Brian Eynon said residents should expect the area to potentially be blocked off for 24 hours.

While Eynon said there is no public safety risk or threat to the public, the neighborhood around the area will remain under “complete lockdown” as police collect evidence and conduct their initial investigation. He asked residents to remain in their homes except in cases of need or emergency.

Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

Members of the Roy Police Department tied blue and black ribbons around the poles that encircle the Ogden Public Safety building as a show of solidarity. The slain officer’s body was transported to the State Medical Examiner’s Office in Taylorsville about 4:30 p.m., escorted by four motorcycle officers. Eight motorcycle officers led the procession, which picked up officers from other jurisdictions as it traveled south on I-15, including a motorcycle officer from Utah Highway Patrol.

As the procession passed under an overpass in northern Utah, a firefighter standing on top of a fire truck saluted the officer and his escorts.

Neighbors said they heard dozens of shots, but when they went outside to see what was happening, they were quickly told to return to their houses by officers arriving on the scene. One woman, Jill Kinselman, described seeing an officer “pulling someone” across the lawn of the house where a woman called for help a few minutes earlier.

In a statement on its Facebook page, Utah’s Fraternal Order of Police said, “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

“The worst days in this profession are those where we lose our brothers and sisters in the line of duty. Information is still being gathered. Take a moment to think on and honor the fallen officer, their family, their colleagues, and their communities,” the post said.

There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. The worst days in this profession are those...

Posted by Utah State Fraternal Order of Police on Thursday, May 28, 2020

Gov. Gary Herbert on Twitter Thursday night said, “I am heartbroken to hear the news from Ogden this evening. Standing tall in the line of duty is a brave and noble act, and my prayers are with the fallen officer’s family and friends. Tonight, the whole state mourns with @OGDEN_POLICE.”

The last Ogden officer killed in the line of duty was 30-year-old Jared Francom on Jan. 4, 2012.

Francom, the father of two girls, was serving a “knock and announce” warrant with the Weber-Morgan Metro Narcotics Strike Force when Matthew David Stewart, 37, began shooting without warning.

Six officers, including Francom, who’d been with the Ogden Police Department for seven years, were shot.

Officer Derek Draper said Francom’s actions during the shootout saved his life, and possibly the life of another officer who was wounded. Draper said Francom fired at the shooter so he could escape being trapped in a hallway. He later helped drag Francom out of the line of fire, and other officers helped get him to paramedics while the standoff and shootout continued.

Ogden police received condolences from law enforcement agencies across the state. Salt Lake police personally delivered several boxes of pizza to those who still had to work. Utah Highway Patrol troopers were responding to calls in the city.

Watt called it a sad day not just for his department, but for all of law enforcement and the entire community.

“Let us not forget such fine men and women who every day offer their lives up on behalf of this great and noble calling,” he said.

Free and confidential help and support for victims and survivors of domestic violence is available 24/7 at 1-800-897-LINK (5465) or at udvc.org.

Contributing: Amy Donaldson