Pubdate: Fri, 06 Jan 2012
Source: Standard-Examiner (UT)
Copyright: 2012 Ogden Publishing Corporation
Author: Scott Schwebke, Standard-Examiner staff


OGDEN - Investigators converged on a cordoned-off Ogden neighborhood 
Thursday to continue the grim task of investigating the shooting 
death of a veteran policeman and the wounding of five other officers 
in a fierce shootout.

The investigators seemed to be focused Thursday morning on collecting 
evidence from the barren backyard of the home of suspect Matthew 
David Stewart, 37, of 3268 Jackson Ave.

Stewart was wounded in the gun battle Wednesday night when a dozen 
agents with the Weber-Morgan Narcotics Strike Force attempted to 
serve a warrant at his residence. He sustained non-life threatening 
injuries and is under guard at Ogden Regional Hospital.

Ogden Assistant Police Chief Wayne Tarwater said during a Thursday 
morning news conference that Stewart has a "limited criminal history" 
but did not elaborate. He also did not release any information about 
a possible motive for the shooting.

Weber County Attorney Dee W. Smith told reporters that Stewart likely 
faces a charge of aggravated murder, which carries the death penalty, 
and additional charges of attempted aggravated murder.

Jared Francom, a member of the Ogden Police Department since 2005, 
died early Thursday morning of his wounds.

Other officers wounded are Shawn Grogan, Kasey Burrell and Michael 
Rounkles, all of the Ogden Police Department; Sgt. Nate Hutchinson, 
Weber County Sheriff's Office; and Jason VanderWarf, Roy Police Department.

VanderWarf was treated at Ogden Regional Medical Center and released Thursday.

Hutchinson was in stable condition with multiple gunshot wounds while 
Grogan, Burrell, Rounkles remained in critical condition Thursday at 
McKay-Dee Hospital.

Tarwater said the shooting occurred when a dozen strike force 
officers attempted to execute a "knock" arrest warrant for a 
narcotics offense at Stewart's home. Officers knocked on Stewart's 
door and when no one answered entered the house and were fired upon, he said.

Authorities declined to say what type of weapon or weapons were used, 
how many shots were fired and how the suspect was injured.

Tarwater said police had heard that Stewart has a military 
background, but that had not been confirmed.

Lt. Darin Parke, who heads the Weber-Morgan Narcotics Strike Force, 
said it isn't unusual to deploy as many as a dozen officers to 
execute a search warrant.

He said officers assigned to the task force are well trained, adding 
that Francom was one of the most experienced members of the unit.

About 40 officers from various Weber County law enforcement agencies 
converged on McKay-Dee Hospital and Ogden Regional Hospital in 
solidarity immediately after the shooting, said Tarwater,

"This is a law enforcement family," he said explaining the shooting 
has had a deep and profound effect on law officers throughout the 
area. "The law enforcement community is grieving."

Mayor Mike Caldwell, whose first day in office was Wednesday said the 
shooting is tragic.

"I can't imagine a more difficult thing to be put into on your first 
day on the job," he said at the news conference. "It's a little 
overwhelming. There are six families that have been forever changed 
by last night's events. We are here to support them."

Weber County Sheriff Terry Thompson echoed Tarwater's comments about 
the broader effects of the shooting.

"All the strike force agents involved in this tragic incident reacted 
honorably, with courage, fidelity and valor in the face of 
significant danger that has claimed the life of a fellow officer," he 
said. "We train and prepare for deadly force incidents hoping that we 
will never find ourselves or our fellow officers in deadly peril yet 
are ever willing and prepared to step up and to serve our fellow 
citizens and each other."

Thompson also paid tribute to Francom.

"We have lost a brother," he said. "We will grieve this loss knowing 
that officer Francom laid down his life for his friends and 
community. He will be sorely missed."

Roy Police Chief Greg Whinham, his voice chocked with emotion, told 
reporters at the press conference that Francom and the other wounded 
officers should be honored for their service.

"As I worked and watched these noble officers go about their duties I 
have been honored to be counted among them," he said.
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