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Investigation into shooting death of Uintah County man handed over to prosecutors

Published: Thursday, July 31 2014 9:01 p.m. MDT

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VERNAL — The police investigation into Tuesday's shooting death of a Vernal man was forwarded Thursday to the Uintah County Attorney's Office for review.

Curtis Dale Hardinger, of Vernal, was found with a gunshot wound to his chest when deputies were called to a house at 2655 N. 500 East just before midnight Tuesday.

Hardinger, 34, was taken to Ashley Regional Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.

Deputies also found an injured woman inside the home. She was taken to the same hospital and admitted. The woman's name has not been released, but Uintah County Undersheriff John Laursen identified her Thursday as Hardinger's girlfriend.

"The female in the relationship did shoot the victim," Laursen said, noting that the woman has been released from the hospital but has not been arrested.

"She is keeping the sheriff’s department apprised of her whereabouts," the undersheriff said.

Investigators interviewed the woman and Hardinger's two children, who were in the home when the shooting took place, Laursen said. Detectives were told that Hardinger had injured the woman before being shot, the undersheriff said.

Court records show that a different woman twice sought protective orders against Hardinger in 2012. In one case, a judge denied the woman's request. In the other case, the request was granted. That protective order was later dismissed at the woman's request, according to court records.

Hardinger's children are staying with relatives, the undersheriff said.

Authorities have recovered the pistol used in the shooting. It was "legally purchased and possessed," Laursen said.

Email: gliesik@deseretnews.com, Twitter: GeoffLiesik

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