Nicholas Draney, Nicholas Draney/Standard-Examiner
OGDEN — Matthew David Stewart admitted he heard yelling and people coming into his home.
But the man accused of shooting six law enforcers, killing one, in January 2012, claimed he thought he was being "invaded" and needed to defend himself.
"Still trying to figure out if it was the wrong way or not. Because I don't think I would have had a chance if I didn't do that. Think they would have just killed me," Stewart told an investigator interviewing him from his hospital bed the day after the shooting.
"So what did you do?" the investigator inquired.
"With a gun."
The chilling recorded conversation was part of a large bulk of audio and video recordings and still photographs released by the Weber County Attorney's Office through a Government Records Access and Management Act request.
On Jan. 4, 2012, members of the Weber-Morgan Narcotics Strike Force entered Stewart's house with a "knock-and-announce" search warrant to investigate an alleged marijuana growing operation, which was later found in his basement.
Officers had spent several minutes walking around the house and announcing their presence when Stewart opened fire on them without warning. Ogden police officer Shawn Grogan was shot in the jaw. To get him out of the house, Ogden police officer Jared Francom provided cover while others grabbed Grogan. Francom was shot and killed.
Four more officers were shot during the confrontation, including one who wasn't even in the house when the incident started but responded later as backup after the shooting began.
Following the shootout, Stewart was hospitalized for nearly a month before being transferred to the Weber County Jail.
Stewart hung himself inside his cell at the Weber County Jail on May 24, closing his case before going to trial.
This week, the recorded hospital interviews between Stewart and Robert Carpenter, an investigator with the Weber County Attorney's Office, were released to the Deseret News and KSL.
Carpenter said Stewart waived his Miranda rights and agreed to talk to him.
In a very soft voice, oftentimes inaudible, Stewart said he felt like he was being "invaded," that his military training just kicked in and that he had to defend himself.
Stewart said he took his gun and "pointed it around the corner to keep them back. And that's when they unloaded."
"They unloaded on you?" Carpenter asked.
"They just unloaded down the hallway, and I saw dust and wood fragments flying everywhere. And I hadn't pulled the trigger. I sorta felt like they were definitely there to kill me."
Stewart claimed the officers shot first, a notion that police and prosecutors strongly refuted.
Stewart claimed he didn't know who was in his house. He said he fired his gun without looking. At one point he said he lost track of how many times he fired and said that he reloaded at least twice.
Also during the recorded conversations, Stewart's distrust of government came out. He talked about his time in the Army and that he left "because of lots and lots of government lies."
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