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Dispatch tapes paint chaotic scene when 6 officers were shot in Ogden

Published: Wednesday, Sept. 2 2015 6:01 p.m. MDT

SWAT officers and detectives work on the scene of a shooting at around 3268 Jackson Ave. in Ogden Wednesday, January 4, 2012, in which six officers were shot, including Jared Francom, who was killed. (Brian Nicholson, Deseret News) SWAT officers and detectives work on the scene of a shooting at around 3268 Jackson Ave. in Ogden Wednesday, January 4, 2012, in which six officers were shot, including Jared Francom, who was killed. (Brian Nicholson, Deseret News)

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Transporting Francom

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.

SWAT officers and detectives work on the scene of a shooting at around 3268 Jackson Ave. in Ogden Wednesday, January 4, 2012, in which six officers were shot, including Jared Francom, who was killed. (Brian Nicholson, Deseret News) SWAT officers and detectives work on the scene of a shooting at around 3268 Jackson Ave. in Ogden Wednesday, January 4, 2012, in which six officers were shot, including Jared Francom, who was killed. (Brian Nicholson, Deseret News)

"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.

Photo of Matthew Stewart. This photo was taken from a Facebook page, created by the family, that has since been taken down. (Facebook, ) Photo of Matthew Stewart. This photo was taken from a Facebook page, created by the family, that has since been taken down. (Facebook, )

"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.

SWAT officers and detectives work on the scene of a shooting at around 3268 Jackson Ave. in Ogden Wednesday, January 4, 2012, in which six officers were shot, including Jared Francom, who was killed. (Brian Nicholson, Deseret News) SWAT officers and detectives work on the scene of a shooting at around 3268 Jackson Ave. in Ogden Wednesday, January 4, 2012, in which six officers were shot, including Jared Francom, who was killed. (Brian Nicholson, Deseret News)

"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.

Photo of Matthew Stewart. This photo was taken from a Facebook page, created by the family, that has since been taken down. (Facebook, ) Photo of Matthew Stewart. This photo was taken from a Facebook page, created by the family, that has since been taken down. (Facebook, )

Prosecutors say they will seek the death penalty against Stewart if he is convicted. Stewart was just released from the hospital Monday and booked into the Weber County Jail. He was scheduled to make his initial appearance in court on Wednesday.

On the night of Jan. 4, members of the drug strike force were serving a routine knock-and-announce warrant at Stewart's home, 3268 Jackson Ave. Investigators had received information that Stewart had a marijuana growing operation in his basement.

What they didn't know at that time was that Stewart had told a friend that if police ever tried to raid his operation, he'd "go out in a blaze of glory and shoot to kill," according to court records.

The gunman, armed with a Beretta .9mm handgun, was relentless in firing on officers. Stewart continued to shoot officers after they were down, firing on officers as they tried to get their wounded brothers out of the house, and then following the officers even after they had left the house, shooting at them from his front door into the street, according to a police affidavit.

Photo of Matthew Stewart. This photo was taken from a Facebook page, created by the family, that has since been taken down. (Facebook, ) Photo of Matthew Stewart. This photo was taken from a Facebook page, created by the family, that has since been taken down. (Facebook, )

Within a minute of the initial gunfire, the gunman apparently escaped out a window into a backyard shed.

"He's in the shed in the backyard," an incident commander tells the other. "I think I can hear him moaning in there."

"We've got movement. We've got movement in the shed," one officer warns while another can be heard saying, "Sounds like he's racking a gun up in there."

"We can also hear him talking in the shed."

Officers are heard several times on the tapes warning their comrades to stay out of the way of crossfire as they surrounded the shed. The officers also question each other whether anyone else could still be inside the house posing a threat to them.

About 17 minutes into the dispatch tape, an officer says: "We're taking the suspect in custody now."

Photo of Matthew Stewart. This photo was taken from a Facebook page, created by the family, that has since been taken down. (Facebook, ) Photo of Matthew Stewart. This photo was taken from a Facebook page, created by the family, that has since been taken down. (Facebook, )

About 30 seconds later, another officer can be heard saying, "I need to know where Francom is."

One officer also tells a dispatcher, "I need the suspect to go to a different hospital than my officers are at." Davis Hospital & Medical Center in Layton is suggested. But a few minutes later, the dispatcher tells the officer that according to paramedics, "He will not make it to Davis with his injuries."

As the officers still at the house try to account for all the strike force members, one can be heard on the recordings saying that Roy police officer Jason VanderWarf "took a ricochet to the head."

Neighbors and people attending a meeting at an LDS church across the street from Stewart's house reported hearing a barrage of gunfire. Several nearby homes and vehicles were hit multiple times by stray gunfire.

Photo of Matthew Stewart. This photo was taken from a Facebook page, created by the family, that has since been taken down. (Facebook, ) Photo of Matthew Stewart. This photo was taken from a Facebook page, created by the family, that has since been taken down. (Facebook, )

About 33 minutes into the incident, the people inside the church were allowed to leave. A commander also can be heard on the tapes setting up a meeting place for any officer who fired a shot, "so we can try and make sense to detectives what happened."

E-mail: preavy@desnews.com

Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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