Pubdate: Sat, 07 Jan 2012
Source: Standard-Examiner (UT)
Copyright: 2012 Ogden Publishing Corporation
Author: Charles F. Trentelman, Standard-Examiner staff
Note: Standard-Examiner reporter Scott Schwebke contributed to this article.


OGDEN -- Michael Stewart stood in front of a Christmas decoration 
still dangling from his front door on Ogden's East Bench and said he 
is heartbroken over the shooting death of a police officer at his 
son's home late Wednesday evening.

He's also angry.

"Why couldn't they have done a little homework?" he said of the police.

"If they had, they'd have known he'd be out at 11 o'clock (in the 
evening)," leaving the house to go to work. He said his son would 
have been easy to arrest then.

Instead, earlier that evening, the Weber-Morgan Narcotics Strike 
Force served a warrant at his son's home at 3268 Jackson Ave.

Six officers and Stewart's son, Matthew, were shot in the ensuing 

One of those officers has since died. Matthew Stewart is also in the 
hospital, under guard, with unspecified injuries.

Michael Stewart, who works as a private investigator and serves court 
papers, said he and his wife answered questions all day about his 
son. He doesn't have any answers.

He and his son have been estranged for a year and a half, he said, so 
he doesn't know what his son was doing that would draw the attention of police.

He stressed repeatedly that his heart goes out to the families of the 
officers involved, especially the family Jared Francom, the Ogden 
officer who died.

"I just want it to be known, our hearts go out to all those officers 
and their families," he said.

"Quote me that I think it needs to be our priority with the officers 
that are still suffering. We're just devastated by this whole thing. 
What else can I say?"

Stewart said his son is a veteran of the U.S. Army who served in the 
first Gulf War. He later trained as a security guard for the Internal 
Revenue Service but has most recently been working a night shift at a 
local Walmart.

However, records obtained from the Pentagon show Matthew Stewart 
served as a multichannel transmission systems operator-maintainer in 
the Army from July 14, 1994, to Dec. 17, 1998, and reached the rank 
of specialist.

He was stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C., from December 1994 to January 
1996 and in Germany from January 1996 to December 1998. He received 
the Army Achievement Medal and National Defense Service Medal.

According to the Pentagon, Stewart was not deployed.

Michael Stewart said his son has used drugs to try to deal with 
mental problems, possibly due to post-traumatic stress disorder, 
although he said his son had never gone to the Veterans 
Administration to be diagnosed or seek help.

"I talked to one of my sons, and in the Army and the Marines, they 
teach you you're not supposed to show weakness," he said.

"He should have gone to get help, but in his eyes, it showed you were 
weak, and he tried to do it himself," growing marijuana occasionally 
to self-medicate.

He insisted his son didn't sell drugs and bristled at news reports 
that he said portrayed his son's home as being in a bad neighborhood.

"We helped him buy that house. It's a great little neighborhood."

Stewart said shooting in a situation where a group of armed men break 
into a house isn't all that surprising. In his job, he has to serve 
court papers, and he said he always tries to be careful, because he 
never knows how people will react.

He has to appear in court next week because someone assaulted him, he 
said, and that was just on a civil matter.

"Hey, figure it out. If 12 people come through your door, what are 
you going to do?"

If his son was sleeping, he said, he could easily react by defending 
himself, especially considering his military and security training.

"My whole thing is, it was an overreaction on both of their parts, 
and both families are suffering."

State court records indicate Matthew Stewart's only criminal 
conviction was in 2005 in Roy/Weber County Justice Court on a 
misdemeanor charge of operating a vehicle without insurance. He paid 
a $350 fine.

Weber County property records indicate Stewart has owned his home at 
3268 Jackson Ave. since April 1999. The house has a market value of $84,176.

Standard-Examiner reporter Scott Schwebke contributed to this article.
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