OGDEN, Utah, May 28, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — Tributes are pouring in Thursday evening for an Ogden City police officer shot and killed Thursday afternoon after responding to a domestic disturbance call.
The officer’s name is being withheld temporarily, Chief Steven “Randy” Watt, Ogden Police Department, told reporters at a late afternoon news conference.
“A fine young officer with just 15 months on the job was struck by gunfire and killed protecting a family, our community, and fellow officers around him,” Watt said.
Officers were called to the area of 365 Jackson Ave. at about 12:15 p.m. by a woman who said her husband was threatening to kill her.
“The call was disconnected without further information, and attempts to reconnect were unsuccessful,” Watt said.
“When officers arrived on the scene they were confronted by a male in the area of the front porch. He was uncooperative, and suddenly retreated into the home, slamming the door behind him. As officers moved quickly to the door to attempt to follow the suspect, he began firing through the door.
“The Ogden officer who was struck by a fatal round was dragged from the scene by other officers.”
The victim was taken to McKay-Dee Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, Watt said. An adult probation officer on scene was also struck by gunfire. He was treated at the hospital and is recovering from non-life-threatening wounds, Watt added.
Soon after Utah officials and the community heard of the incident, tributes to the officer began to flood in.
Angela Choberka, Ogden City Council Chair, released the following statement: “Together with the greater Ogden community, the City Council mourns the loss of one of Ogden City Police Department’s officers, who tragically lost his life in the line of duty Thursday afternoon when responding to a call. Words cannot fully express the level of sorrow and empathy we feel for the officer’s family and his partners in the Ogden Police Department.
“To echo Ogden Police Chief Randy Watt, we ask that the family of the fallen officer be allowed time to mourn their loss privately before his name is released.
“We want to extend our deepest gratitude for his service and that of all officers who willingly put themselves in life-threatening situations on a regular basis to keep our community safe. The bravery shown day in and day out is of the highest caliber. Thank you for your sacrifice and may those who need it find the solace to endure this loss.”
Gov. Gary Herbert tweeted: “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 Department.”
Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman Jr. tweeted: “My heart breaks for the officers in Ogden who were shot in the line of duty earlier today. The Huntsman family sends our condolences to the families who must deal with the aftermath of this senseless tragedy.”
Salt Lake City Police Department tweeted: “Our thoughts are with Ogden PD during this difficult time.”
Unified Police Department tweeted: “Today we mourn the loss of the Ogden Police officer killed in the line of duty this afternoon while responding on a domestic violence call. Our thoughts are with his family and the entire Ogden Police Department as they endure this difficult time.”
Utah Highway Patrol tweeted: “There are no words that can comfort the grief of the family, friends, sisters and brothers of Ogden’s fallen officer at a time like this. UHP will stand… indefinitely as a support to them, as we honor the sacrifice one brave young officer made in the service of his community.”
Summit County Sheriff’s Office Sheriff Justin Martinez tweeted: “Our hearts are heavy and our thoughts are with our friends at Ogden Police Department and the family of the fallen officer during this very difficult time. ‘All Give Some, Some Give All’ #ThinBlueLine.”
Weber State University Police Department tweeted: “Our deepest sympathies go out to our Ogden Police Department brothers and sisters. We stand with them in this difficult time.”
At the time the fallen officer was being dragged from the scene by officials hoping to save him, other officers returned fire, Watt said at the news conference. SWAT team members entered the house, determined the suspected shooter was dead, and retrieved children from the house.
“Our hearts are broken,” Watt said of the young officer. “We’ve lost one of our own.
“The days to come will be hectic for us. Please, as a department, as a community, as a state and as a nation, let us not forget such fine men and women who, everyday, offer their lives up on behalf of this great and noble calling.”
The news conference was held in the Francom Public Service Building, named for late Officer Jared Francom, who was shot to death in 2012 while serving in the Ogden City Police Department.
At Thursday’s crime scene, residents told Gephardt Daily they heard an estimated 20 shots fired. Officers who responded to the call for help included the Utah Highway Patrol, the Weber County Sheriff’s Office and the Riverdale Police Department.
At the time of the incident, residents of the neighborhood received reverse 911 calls instructing them to shelter in place until police were sure the scene was secure.
At about 2 p.m., after the incident was over, Ogden officers told neighbors that there was no remaining danger, and the area would remain on lockdown for as long as 24 hours, for witness interviews and evidence collection. They said residents could leave for errands and appointments if they checked with police.
Gephardt Daily will provide more information as it becomes available.