SALT LAKE CITY — For the Utah law enforcement community, the past few days have been like none in recent memory.
Three officers were shot — one killed — in less than 48 hours. One of those incidents led to an exchange of gunfire and a massive manhunt in southern Utah. Another resulted in a heavily armed gunman dressed in full military fatigues being shot and killed in the middle of a busy Salt Lake City street.
In addition to the officer-involved shootings, detectives investigated new homicides in South Salt Lake, Taylorsville, West Haven and West Valley over the past four days.
South Jordan police officer Stevan Gerber, who was working with the Joint Criminal Apprehension Team, was shot Thursday in the leg while trying to serve an arrest warrant on a man who was on parole from the Utah State Prison for a manslaughter conviction.
Gerber has since been released from the hospital and is resting at home.
Troy Cabibi, 29, was arrested and sent back to the Utah State Prison for parole violation pending new charges in the shooting of Gerber. Bradley Olmos-Boatright, who turned 18 two days before the shooting, was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of attempted aggravated murder.
On the same day Gerber was shot, Kane County sheriff's deputy Brian Harris was shot and killed while pursuing a burglary suspect into Fredonia, Ariz. The shooting sparked a massive four-day manhunt along the Utah-Arizona boarder that ended early Monday with the arrest of Scott Curley, 23.
Harris' death marked the fourth Utah police officer killed in the line of duty in 2010, making it the deadliest year for Utah officers in 23 years, and as many law enforcers as have been killed in Utah in the previous six years combined. In 1987, five law enforcers were killed in the line of duty in Utah.
In addition to Harris, Millard County sheriff's deputy Josie Greathouse Fox was shot and killed in January. In May, Sevier County Sheriff's Sgt. Franco Aguilar was knocked off an icy bridge while assisting a motorist who had crashed, plummeting 250 feet to his death. In June, a police officer for the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs, Joshua Yazzie, 33, died in a car crash while responding to an accident.
Friday, a Salt Lake police officer confronted a heavily armed man in "full military-style combat attire." Army Spec. Brandon S. Barrett, 28, who was listed as AWOL and had a federal warrant out for his arrest, was shot and killed after shooting the police officer in the leg.
Officials refuse to identify the officer, except to say that he has been with the department for less than two years. He has been released from the hospital and is recovering at home. The officer is on standard paid administrative leave pending an investigation into the incident.
Neither police nor the Joint Base Lewis-McChord base in Tacoma, Wash., where Barrett was last stationed, had information Monday on what Barrett had potentially planned to do.
Base spokeswoman Maj. Jenny Willis confirmed Monday that all weapons on the base had been accounted for, meaning the weapon allegedly used to shoot the officer was not a military-issued gun from Lewis-McChord.6 comments on this story
Barrett, 28, from Tucson, Ariz., had served in Afghanistan with the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force between July 14, 2009, and June 26, 2010.
Many officers Monday said they couldn't recall a 48-hour period in the past in which three Utah police officers were shot.
"I think it's just a reminder of how dangerous this job can be," said Unified Police Lt. Don Hutson. "Whenever there are this many violent acts so close together, it's a reminder of how fragile life really is. Other people's decisions can have a huge impact on our lives when we least expect it."