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'It's a very, very sad day;' 1 officer killed, 5 wounded in Ogden shootout

Published: Thursday, Jan. 5 2012 7:54 p.m. MST

From left, Erin Francom, widow of Jared Francom, his brothers Travis Francom, Jessica, (Travis' wife) Ben and Gunner take part in a candlelight vigil honoring their husband and brother, Ogden police officer Jared Francom at the Ogden Amphitheater in Ogden Thursday, January 5, 2012. Francom succumbed to his injuries after he and five other officers from the Weber Morgan Narcotics Strike Force were shot last night while serving a warrant at a home in Ogden.

Brian Nicholson, Deseret News

OGDEN — An emotional Ogden interim Police Chief Wayne Tarwater summed up the feelings of police officers and the community Thursday:

"It's a very, very sad day for all," he said, fighting back tears.

Law enforcers across the state were in mourning Thursday following the news that one of six officers from the Weber-Morgan Metro Narcotics Strike Force shot while serving a search warrant Wednesday night had died.

Agent Jared Francom, who had been with the Ogden Police Department for seven years, succumbed to his injuries and died at Ogden Regional Medical Center early Thursday. He is survived by a wife and two young children.

Strike Force Commander Lt. Darin Parke called Francom an experienced agent who trained other people in the unit.

During an emotional press conference Thursday at the Ogden Police Department, police and city leaders talked about how the law enforcement community had lost a family member.

"This is a family. This is a law enforcement family. The law enforcement community is mourning," Tarwater said.

Francom and other members of the Weber-Morgan Narcotics Strike Force were attempting to serve a warrant about 8:40 p.m. at 3268 Jackson Ave. when a gun battle erupted.

Six officers and the alleged gunman were shot. The conditions of the five other injured officers range from serious to critical, according to the Ogden Police Department.

Those injured and hospitalized were:

• Ogden police officer Shawn Grogan

• Ogden police officer Kasey Burrell

• Ogden police officer Michael Rounkles

• Weber County Sheriff's Sgt. Nate Hutchinson

• Roy police officer Jason Vanderwarf

• The alleged gunman, Matthew David Stewart, 37, suffered injuries that were not life-threatening, according to police, and remained hospitalized Thursday under guard.

Grogan, Burrell and Rounkles were in critical condition Thursday at McKay-Dee Hospital, said hospital spokesman Chris Dallin. Hutchinson was upgraded to stable condition. Vanderwarf was treated at ORMC and was later released.

At least 12 strike force members were serving a "knock and announce warrant," meaning they first knocked on the door to announce their presence and then entered if no one responded.

"They forced entry onto the door and when they entered, the officers came under fire," Tarwater said.

"There was not a great deal that set this investigation apart from other similar types of investigations other than the outcome," Parke said.

Bulletproof vests are common for officers to wear while serving search warrants. It is assumed the officers were wearing them Wednesday night, but investigators would not confirm that Thursday.

Dallin declined to release any details about the nature of the officers' injuries, saying he had not been authorized by family members to go into details. "As you can imagine, these families have had a rough night," he said.

But according to a law enforcement source, Grogan was shot in the face through the cheek; Burrell was shot twice, once in the stomach, and his face was hit with fragments; Rounkles was shot in the leg and the bullet was still lodged inside; Hutchinson was shot four times, twice to his vest, once to his arm and once through his hip; and Vanderwarf was shot in the hip.

"We've never had this many officers come in at the same time," Dallin said, adding that all available critical care staff responded to the hospital to assist.

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