LEHI Lehi police officers and city officials are reeling from a shooting Monday morning that sent a veteran police captain to the hospital and brought back memories of the last officer they lost.
Just before 9 a.m., police Capt. Harold Terry pulled over a female driver suspected of being impaired, after a gas-station clerk called 911 to report the woman had exhibited slurred speech and poor balance.
After a short disagreement at the car window, the 34-year-old woman, who was still seated in the car, suddenly fired twice with a .38-caliber revolver, hitting Terry twice in the left side of the head, just above his ear. Terry was able to draw his gun and fire once into the car and back-up officers on scene fired five rounds at the woman, killing her.
One bullet exited Terry's head and the other bullet and shrapnel were surgically removed late Monday morning at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center, where he was reported to be resting in stable condition, surrounded by family and friends, said Lehi Police Sgt. Darren Paul.
"This is a trying time for all of us. We're all very close," Paul said, as he stood in front of the police station that bears the name of the last officer they lost Lt. Joseph Adams. Like Terry, Adams had also stopped a suspected impaired driver when he was killed in August 2001.
The woman fatally shot Monday morning is from Washington state but was living in Provo and attending school in Utah County.
Police have not released her name pending notification of her family.
Officers cannot find any indication that the woman has a criminal record, nor do they believe she was the subject of a warrant. They will be conducting an autopsy and toxicology reports and searching her car to determine what may have caused her behavior, Paul said.
A combined group of investigators and officials from the Utah County Attorney's Office will be reviewing the use of force by the Lehi officers.
"Traffic stops are considered the most dangerous encounters officers face," Paul said. "There are so many unknowns."
Terry had followed the proper protocol for the stop at 1000 E. Main, in front of a busy gas station, Paul said.
"He's a veteran leader here," Paul said. "He's very well respected and professional in how he carries out his duties."
Although police captains are often found in an office behind a desk, Terry was out on the road and responded when he heard the dispatch report.
"Knowing Capt. Terry, I'm not a bit surprised," Paul said. "He leads by example."
Terry has been with Lehi for 16 years and was promoted in February to captain over the patrol division, Paul said.
As well as leading by example, Terry also trained and taught officers.
He had just finished teaching one term of law enforcement operations at Provo College, which focuses on the day-to-day life of a police officer, said Ken Peay, program administrator for the criminal justice degree at Provo College.
"Harold was an excellent teacher," Peay said. "He was really, really good with his students. I think he exemplifies the best of the best," Peay said.
Terry had taken the summer semester off but planned to come back in the fall, Peay said.
"He loved it," Peay said. "He was really good at it, you could tell how much he enjoyed it because of his demeanor in the classroom. ... He made the classes come to life with his experiences."
Several students have called wanting to send messages or flowers to the family, Peay said.
One of the experiences Terry shared with students included being involved in a shoot-out with a former police comrade, Art Henderson, who had chased his ex-wife and her boyfriend through a residential Lehi neighborhood, firing several shots at them in January 2006.
Lehi officers took Henderson down with several shots to the leg, and he was arrested.
Henderson was later charged with numerous felonies, including attempted aggravated murder, but his criminal case ended in April 2006 when he hanged himself in a cell at the Salt Lake Metro Jail.
"It's hard to think that these men and women put their lives on the line," said Lehi Mayor Howard H. Johnson, who stopped by the station to share his love and support with the force.
Johnson, too, mentioned Adams when he talked about Monday's shooting. The poignant memory of the fallen officer is something no one has forgotten.
In the August 2001 shooting, Adams found a bag of cocaine in a car he had pulled over, told the driver he was under arrest and began to handcuff him. Somehow the driver got one hand free, grabbed a handgun from his belt and shot Adams.
Although wounded in two places, Adams was able to return fire, hitting the man multiple times. With a handcuff dangling from one wrist, the shooter, Arturo Javier Scott Welch, got in his car and drove away, according to Utah County Sheriff's officials. He was captured by Salt Lake County Sheriff's deputies at a gas station in Draper.
Welch, 23, pleaded guilty to aggravated murder the following year and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
At the time of that shooting, Adams, a three-year member of the Lehi Police Department, was married and had an 8-month-old son.
In the aftermath of Monday's shooting, the task now is to support and pray for Terry and his family, as well as the family in Washington that has lost a loved one, the mayor said.
"Right now, we'll do the best we can, pray and hope the Lord sees fit to bless him extra," Johnson said.
He extolled the police officers, saying that many people don't pick professions with inherent risks or obstacles."But these good (officers) take a job that has them all," he said. "And they do it with a sense of cheer and happiness. We live in debt to them every day."
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