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Harold Terry

PROVO — Kelly Wark, the woman who was shot by police after wounding an officer during a bizarre traffic stop on Monday, moved to Provo in April, hoping for a new life and a fresh start.

"She hadn't been (to Utah) before," said Wark's sister, Erin. "But she researched a lot of places. She really thought (Utah had) beautiful scenery. She really liked the small-town atmosphere."

Wark, 34, a native of a Gig Harbor, Wash., studied art and psychology at Western Washington University and was switching her focus to study massage therapy at the Utah College of Massage Therapy in Lindon.

Her family knew she had struggled with mental illness for years but believed she was "on her way to beginning anew," said Erin Wark, in a phone interview from Washington.

Yet a few days ago, Wark called home to say she was having trouble sleeping.

"She hadn't slept in four days," Erin Wark said. "I know that she was having a hard time."

But her family never fathomed that her struggle with mental illness would lead her to pull a gun on a Lehi police officer Monday morning and shoot him twice in the head before being fatally shot by other officers on the scene.

"Most people have known someone, have a family member — everyone understands about (mental illness)," Erin Wark said. "If only we could finally get to a place in our system where the system understands it and there's less opportunities for tragedies like this to happen, for people to fall through the cracks and be in possession of firearms. That sort of thing, it just happens way too often, then one day it happens to you."

The Wark family released a statement Tuesday expressing their "deepest condolences" to the family of Lehi Police Capt. Harold Terry, the 55-year-old officer who was shot during the traffic stop.

They also noted that Wark was a kind, gentle woman with artistic talent and no violent history.

"She's never been violent before, ever," Erin Wark said. "She's had numerous struggles with mental illness ... but she has never harmed anyone."

Police, too, are still searching for answers about what went wrong and what might have caused the fatal traffic stop.

Just before 9 a.m. Monday, Terry pulled Wark over at 1000 E. Main in Lehi, responding to a 911 call. A gas-station clerk called to report an impaired driver.

Seconds after Terry approached the car, Wark fired twice, hitting Terry in the left side of his head, just above his ear. Other officers who had arrived as back-up opened fire, killing her.

"This was a female that appeared intoxicated and impaired, had a loaded weapon in her car and she had a lot of rounds of ammunition with her," said Lehi Police Sgt. Darren Paul. "What her intentions were, I don't know. (We) probably will never know."

Paul couldn't comment in detail about what police found in the car but did confirm that Wark had ammunition in her .38 caliber revolver, plus other ammunition in the car.

An autopsy was performed Tuesday morning, although the reports from that, as well as toxicology tests, will not be completed for several days, Paul said.

The county investigation team is also still evaluating the shooting.

While it is pending, the two officers who fired the five fatal shots at Wark are on paid administrative leave.

Terry had surgery Monday to remove bullet shrapnel and on Tuesday was resting in stable condition at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center, surrounded by family, who in a statement thanked the community for the love, prayers and support.

"Harold is a strong man; a great and wonderful husband, father and grandfather," wrote Karen Terry and the couple's children in a statement.

"Harold is in serious but stable condition, and he will have a very long, hard road to recovery. We thank you again for your thoughts and prayers and ask you to continue to pray for Harold."


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