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Jason Thomas

A Cedar City police officer shot while trying to assist a stranded motorist remained in fair condition at Valley View Medical Center Saturday night.

Cedar City police Chief Robert Allinson visited his injured officer, Jason Thomas, Saturday evening.

"He's heavily medicated," he said. "He was falling asleep from the medication just while I was talking to him. Other than the pain, the prognosis is good. He's doing quite well."

Meanwhile, Thomas' alleged assailant remained behind bars Saturday after his arrest earlier in the day after a citizen spotted him and called police.

Doctors are watching some pellets embedded in Thomas' body from the shotgun blast he took to make sure there are not further complications, Allinson said. Thomas also suffered some bruised lungs.

"He could be released quickly if everything keeps improving. They're watching it day by day. Doctors don't suspect it'll be too long (before he's released from the hospital)," he said.

Thomas was injured after he stopped to help a motorist who was stuck in a snowbank Friday at about 7 p.m. near 650 West and 1300 North. Another motorist had also stopped to assist the stranded driver.

Thomas detected an odor of alcohol on the stranded driver's breath and asked him about it, said Cedar City Police Lt. Keith Millett. The man then started walking back to his car, purportedly to get his license.

Instead, he pulled a shotgun from the car and fired it at Thomas, Millett said. The force from the blast was so strong it spun Thomas around, and the officer was shot again from behind.

Thomas, who was wearing a bullet-proof vest, was taken to Valley View Medical Center. More than 20 shotgun pellets had penetrated Thomas' skin, and one punctured his lung.

"Last night he was more upset and mad than he was hurt," Millett said Saturday morning.

After the shooting, the stranded driver carjacked the vehicle of the other motorist who had stopped to help. That car only made it six miles, however, before running out of gas.

Bryan Featherhat, 30, was spotted by a citizen early Saturday walking along State Route 91 north of Enoch. The citizen heard police were looking for a man who fit the pedestrian's description and called police. Officers arrived and Featherhat was arrested without incident. Police continued Saturday to look for the gun used in the shooting.

Featherhat was booked into the Iron County Jail and charged with attempted criminal homicide/aggravated murder and aggravated robbery, both first-degree felonies, and theft of a motor vehicle, a second-degree felony.

Allinson said the shooting was still very vivid in Thomas' mind when he arrived at the hospital Friday night.

"He went through several different emotions. There's some anger there ... he pulls over just to help someone and he ends up getting shot. And he has other feelings of second guessing, asking 'How did it happen?' He's got a lot of emotions right now," he said.

E-mail: dsmeath@desnews.com