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

Published: Thursday, Jan. 5 2012 7:00 a.m. MST

Weber County Attorney Dee Smith instructed investigators not to discuss details about the case pending an internal and external investigation being conducted by the Weber County Sheriff's Office. Officers could not answer questions about whether the gunman was barricaded, what kind of weapons he had or whether Francom was first inside the home when police entered.

When asked about the potential charges the gunman might be facing, Smith became choked up, and said his office would be filing the appropriate charges as the law allows.

"We have an officer who is deceased. ... Until we have the investigation completed, I'm not going to say exactly what he's facing," he said. "But we have an aggravated murder as well as a number of attempted aggravated murders."

"We will grieve this loss, knowing officer Francom laid down his life for his friends and his community," said Weber County Sheriff Terry Thompson.

"As the chief who hired each of these officers over the last 16 years and has worked with them on a daily basis, this is a very sad day of my life," added former Ogden Police Chief Jon Greiner. "These were wonderful men who have given their all and they rose their right hand to God and said that they would support and defend the Constitution and they were doing that for the safety of our community last night."

Roy Police Chief Greg Whinham asked everyone in Utah to remember the sacrifices law enforcers everywhere make every day as well as the sacrifices made by their families that go unrecognized.

At McKay-Dee Hospital Center Wednesday night, between 40 and 70 law enforcers from across northern Utah arrived to offer support to the families of the officers involved.

Wednesday was also the first full day on the job for new Ogden Mayor Mike Caldwell. He said he was with some of the officers' families when a doctor came in to deliver updated news. He called the experience "crushing."

"This is a one of a kind, one in a billion event that happened to be in our community," he said. "It's just terrible circumstances. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families."

Caldwell said grief counselors had been made available to officers since Wednesday night as well as other support as needed.

Dozens of markers could be seen in the street, the front yard where the shootout happened and in the grass on the church property across the street from the crime scene.

Witnesses said they heard three quick pops followed by a two- to three-minute pause, then more gunfire.

"I was sitting in the front room watching TV, heard three pops. My fiancée asked if they were fireworks. I said, 'No, those are gunshots,'" said resident Clayton Payne. "I ran out here to see what was going on and I was escorted back to my house by the cops. They said, ‘Get in your house. Get down.'"

Stewart was reportedly arrested in a nearby shed, but officers would not address details about that on Thursday.

Jerri Johnson lives two homes away from Stewart's house. She said based on the number of gunshots she heard Wednesday night, she initially thought more than one person was firing at officers.

"The number of shots was indescribable," she said. "It was a really scary experience."

Johnson said she had her three young children all lay on the ground of their bedroom floor. She said they were "terrified."

Through the screen door, Johnson watched as police dragged one injured officer across her lawn to safety and carried another. An officer who saw her at the door told her to stay in the house, she said.

Matt King, who lives five houses down from Stewart, said he clearly heard shots during the 10- to 12-minute gunfight. Yellow crime tape still blocked off a wide area around the crime scene late Thursday.

Flags in Ogden were ordered to fly at half-staff Thursday and Utah Gov. Gary Herbert said he'll order all flags throughout the state at half-staff on the day of the funeral.

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