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Harold Terry

PROVO — Kelly Wark, the woman killed by police after she shot a Lehi captain twice in the head, often told her ex-husband that she would rather be dead than live in constant fear.

"She was in her own personal hell," said Craig Hancock, who was married to Wark for only three months before they separated. "She told me several times she would rather be dead than live with being afraid all the time."

The couple met at a Christian singles speed-dating event in 2006 and was soon engaged, then married. But less than a month later, Hancock said, he began seeing signs of what he believes was paranoid schizophrenia.

"Kelly was really, really nice when I met her," Hancock said in a phone interview while on the road. He drives trucks and lives in Spokane, Wash. "She was very quiet and very, very extraordinarily shy, and really great to be around. Then she started getting kind of weird."

He took Ward to a psychiatrist, only coaxing her to come through psychiatrist-provided words.

Once the interview began, he said Wark got angry and stormed out. She couldn't handle anyone telling her she needed help.

"She's sick," Hancock said. "Sicknesses and diseases will protect themselves. Mental illness is going to protect itself. It wants to live, the problem is ... that sickness lives to kill you."

Hancock believes it finally did Monday morning when Wark pulled a .38-caliber revolver on Lehi Police Capt. Harold Terry, shooting him twice in the head, and being killed by return fire from backup officers.

A gas station attendant had called 911 Monday morning to report that Wark, who had come in to purchase gas, appeared impaired and had slurred speech and poor balance.

Terry heard the dispatch relay the information and responded to the call, pulling Wark over for what should have been a routine traffic stop. He had barely approached her window to ask for her driver's license when she fired twice.

"The thing I feel worse about," Hancock said, "I feel bad that Kelly (died), but I don't feel as bad for her because she got freed by being killed, from living in her mind. She was tortured. The thing I feel worst about is that poor police officer."

Terry remains in serious but stable condition at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center, according to hospital officials. He is recovering from surgery to remove shrapnel fragments from the bullets that entered the left side of his head above his ear.

Wark told Hancock she was afraid of police officers, based on previous run-ins. Although she has no serious criminal history, Hancock said her condition led her to fear everybody and everything — which may be one of the reasons she had a gun.

"She was afraid of me, and I was the number one guy ... on her side," he said.

Wark's family knew she had struggled with mental illness over the years but believed her recent move to Utah and her plans to pursue massage therapy schooling at the Utah College of Massage Therapy meant a fresh start and a chance to succeed.

"Kelly was a gentle, kind and loving person ... and was on her way to beginning anew," said sister Erin Wark, reading a family statement.

Hancock said he wonders if he could have done more to help Wark.

"Maybe ... when we knew she was sick, we should have just gritted our teeth, tied her up and taken her to the mental hospital," he said. "But when she's lucid, which is most of the time, she wasn't going to go for it."

He said she did take some medications, which appeared to help, but she was not too strict about refilling them on time, nor seeking advice from anyone but one particular nurse practitioner.

For those like Wark, Hancock said he thinks laws need to be adjusted, allowing family members to get help for adult loved ones who won't seek help on their own.

"There's gotta be some way for families to be given a little bit of leeway," Hancock said. (But) she's a grown woman and 99.9 percent of the time she's lucid. The psych ward will not let you drag somebody down there. The police can come get her, but only if there's a crime committed. She wasn't a criminal.

"If Kelly was like this and this happened once," Hancock continued, "there's many other people out there in a very similar situation. I'd hate to see this again."

E-mail: sisraelsen@desnews.com