Orem police ask witnesses to come forward after officer-involved shooting

Matt Frank Hoover. Photo Courtesy: Utah County Jail; Gephardt Daily

OREM, Utah, Jan. 8, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — Authorities in Utah County have asked that any witnesses to an officer-involved shooting in Orem Saturday night come forward.

Provo Police Officer Joseph Shinners, 29, was shot while attempting to apprehend a wanted fugitive, Matt Frank Hoover, in the parking lot of a Bed, Bath and Beyond store at 50 W. University Parkway in Orem, just before 10 p.m.

There was an exchange of gunfire with suspect Hoover, and Shinners was mortally wounded while he and other officers converged on the truck Hoover was in.

The three-year veteran of the force was rushed by fellow officers to the Utah Valley Hospital, where he died from his injuries a short while later.

A Facebook post from Orem Police Department Tuesday morning said: “We are requesting help from the public as part of the investigation on the shooting death of Provo Police Officer Joseph Shinners. If you were a witness to the events in the Lowe’s/Bed, Bath and Beyond parking lot on the night in question, please get ahold of us.”

Officials have already spoken with a number of witnesses and received a cell phone video of the incident, the post said.

Provo Police Officer Joseph Shinners, 29, died in the line of duty on Jan. 5, 2019. Photos: Provo Police Department

“We understand that many people saw a lot of cop cars and flashing lights but we are only looking for those who had a closer view or heard specific things being shouted,” the post said.

A person commenting on the post asked whether the stores had cameras outside, which officials said they are following up on. Another person asked whether the officers were wearing body cams, to which officials responded that they were, but they “are leaving no stone unturned.” That footage may be released at a later date following a closed investigation, officials said.

The suspect, Matt Frank Hoover, 40, had two outstanding felony warrants at the time of his arrest. He is now facing charges of aggravated murder, attempted aggravated murder, possession of a weapon by a restricted person and possession of methamphetamine with priors. Hoover was last known to reside in the Fillmore area, but recently had been staying at various locations throughout Utah and Salt Lake Counties, officials said.

Shinners’ funeral services will be held Saturday, Jan. 12 at 11 a.m., The Provo Police Department tweeted Monday afternoon. The services will be held at the Utah Valley University UCCU Event Center at 800 W. University Parkway, Orem.

The flag of the United States and the flag of the State of Utah will be lowered on the day of Officer Shinners’ funeral.

There will be a public candlelight vigil for Shinners on Wednesday evening, Jan. 9. Community members who wish to hear remembrances from people who knew Shinners may gather at 48. S. 300 West at 7 p.m., the tweet said.

The slain officer is survived by his wife and a 1-year-old son.

Anyone who witnessed the incident is asked to call Orem dispatch at 801-229-7070 and ask for Detective Mike Locke.

Gephardt Daily will have more on this developing story as information is released.

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