Utah police officer killed; suspect hospitalized
OREM, Utah (AP) — A three-year veteran of the Provo police force was shot and killed during a shootout while trying to apprehend a fugitive in neighboring Orem south of Salt Lake City, the police chief said Sunday.
Officer Joseph Shinners managed to return fire after he was shot and struck the suspect at least once in a parking lot outside a business in Orem Saturday night. Shinners later died at Utah Valley Medical Center, Provo Police Chief Richard Ferguson said.
Ferguson said at a news conference Sunday he is “furious, heartbroken and shocked” by Shinners’ death, the Daily Herald reported . He said he wants Shinners’ family to know “that we love you, and we stand with you.”
The 40-year-old suspect was reported in stable condition Sunday at a hospital where he was under guard. His name has not been released, but police said he had been homeless or staying with friends recently in the Provo or Orem areas.
Orem Police Chief Gary Giles said his department would handle the criminal investigation while the Utah County Sheriff’s Office conducts a parallel investigation under the office’s officer-involved shooting protocols.
Giles said police had received information that a suspect who made threats of violence to police officers in the past was located in the parking lot of the Bed Bath and Beyond on West University Parkway in Orem. He didn’t release any additional information about the suspect’s criminal background.
“Shinners represents every one of us — every one of us who enjoys peace and freedom,” Giles said. “And today, a little bit of that peace and freedom has eroded away.”
Law officers and community leaders mourned Shinners’ loss on Sunday.
Gov. Gary Herbert said he was “deeply saddened” and extended his blessings to all men and women in uniform.
Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes said his prayers were with the Provo Police Department and the family of a fallen hero.
The Utah Highway Patrol said it was a “gut-wrenching” loss and Rep. John Curtis says it’s a sad day in Provo where he served as mayor for eight years.
“We are heartbroken to hear about the loss of another hero,” Salt Lake City Police said in a tweet.