Brian Nicholson, Deseret News
Read excerpts from the dispatch tapes here.
OGDEN — The emotion of frantic police officers is evident in newly released dispatch tapes as they try to get help for their wounded comrades while a gunman repeatedly fires at them.
"We've got several officers down, several officers down. Get units up here now! We need medical, we need medical up here right now … and get them set up about a block away!" an officer identified only as Whiskey 8 can be heard screaming at emergency dispatchers.
On Tuesday, the Weber County Attorney's Office released dispatch tapes from the night Ogden police officer Jared Francom was killed while helping members of the Weber-Morgan Narcotics Strike Force serve a search warrant. The recordings paint a picture of a scene every bit as chaotic as the bullet holes left behind and the police markers set up the next day.
"We got shots fired. We've got officer hit. I need medical. I need additional units, medical stage," an anxious officer identified as Whiskey 7 can be heard telling dispatchers.
Francom was shot the night of Jan. 4. He died a few hours later. Five other officers were also shot and wounded during the melee. All of them have since been released from the hospital.
As backup officers responded to the scene, a brief moment of inaudible yelling can be heard from the officer's radio. Quickly, warnings go out from other officers:
"All units responding, take cover."
"Be advised, shots are being fired out into the area, all officers take cover. Don't come on to scene."
As the drama unfolded and injured strike force members were carried to safety out of the house, some officers took their wounded brothers straight to their own patrol cars.
"I have the officer who was shot with me," one officer tells dispatchers. "There's probably more than one that's been hit, I've got one."
Later, another commander is heard on the police radio telling other officers not to wait for ambulances.
"Can you call and tell them quit wasting medical. Throw them in the car, and get all the injured officers up to McKay now!" the officer said, referring to McKay-Dee Hospital Center.
"Tell them they don't need to wait for medical to transport. Just throw them in a patrol car and get to McKay now!"
In a third recording released Tuesday, Sgt. Steve Zaccardi of the strike force can be heard informing dispatchers that he was transporting a downed officer to the hospital.
"Call McKay, I have an officer shot in the face. ... He is conscious and breathing," the officer tells the dispatcher as he explains how the man was shot in the cheek. "You tell them to be ready to go. I'm taking him up there."
Another officer who takes command of the scene repeatedly asks where the downed officer is located. He tells everyone to "take a position of cover" and set up a perimeter around the house.
"Get all four corners," he commands.
The officer calls for an armored Suburban to the scene and at one point warns that an armed suspect is in the doorway.
Prosecutors have charged Matthew Stewart, 37, with aggravated murder, a capital offense; seven counts of attempted aggravated murder, a first-degree felony; and production of a controlled substance, a second-degree felony. Prosecutors also filed a dangerous weapon penalty enhancement charge against him.
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