OREM — A man with a lengthy criminal history potentially faces a charge of capital murder for the shooting death of a Provo police officer, investigators say.
Matt Frank Hoover, 40, is suspected of shooting Provo police officer Joseph Shinners, 29. Hoover was last known to live in the Fillmore area but had recently been staying at various locations throughout Utah and Salt Lake counties, according to police.
Hoover remained under guard at Utah Valley Hospital on Monday. He was being treated for a gunshot wound and was stable, according to Orem Police Lt. Trent Colledge.
Police did not reveal Monday how many times Hoover was shot or where on his body he suffered his injury. Colledge did not know when Hoover would be released from the hospital, but said he doubted it would be on Monday.
He said preliminary investigation shows that Shinners was the only officer who fired his weapon during the deadly confrontation.
Also on Monday, Provo police announced that the funeral for Shinners will be held in Orem Saturday at Utah Valley University in the UCCU Center.
Hoover has an extensive criminal history of mostly drug-related crimes, according to court records.
In 2017, he was convicted of drug distribution. In January of 2018 he was sentenced to 120 days in jail for violating his probation. During a progress report in drug court in April, Hoover was found to be noncompliant, court records state.
He was determined to be “clean and compliant” in June, but just a month later, on July 11, a warrant was issued for his arrest for missing a mandatory court appearance.
Another warrant was issued for his arrest on Oct. 5 for failing to comply with the terms of his probation on a conviction of felony joyriding.
Hoover’s criminal record dates back to at least 1997. Over the past 20 years, he has been convicted of felony drug possession, attempted forgery, retail theft, failing to respond to an officer’s commands, theft and burglary, court records indicate.
Orem police say he now faces potential charges of aggravated murder, attempted aggravated murder, possession of a weapon by a restricted person and drug possession. As of Monday, no official charges have been filed against him.
Saturday night, Orem and Provo police officers responded to the parking lot of Bed Bath and Beyond, 50 W. University Parkway in Orem, after apparently learning that Hoover was nearby.
"Provo Police Department received information he would be in that area, so they called for our assistance to help them," Colledge said.
Investigators don't know why Hoover was in the area, but noted there were not any reports of crimes happening at that time.
Police say Hoover, who had warrants out for his arrest, had made recent threats against officers.
"We had received information from a third party that he had made comments before that he wasn't going to go back to prison. And that third party had felt he had insinuated he would have a confrontation with police," Colledge said.
A witness recorded cellphone video of the confrontation. In the video, officers can be seen on both sides of Hoover's pickup truck. Shinners was standing by the passenger side door when he was shot and apparently fired a shot at Hoover.
"The cops were yelling in the very beginning (of the video), 'Put the gun down! Put the gun down!'" said Delene Ostler, who recorded the video.
Shinners can be seen stumbling around the truck, then he kneels down on the ground.
"There were several officers that walked past him. I don't think anyone knew that something was wrong. Eventually an officer knelt down beside him and then he helped the injured officer up," she said.
Shortly afterward, officers can then be seen rushing him into an SUV and speeding away with lights and sirens activated.
A female passenger in the truck with Hoover was questioned but was not arrested, according to police.
A candlelight vigil is scheduled for Wednesday at 7 p.m. at 48 S. 300 West in Provo. A GoFundMe has been set up in memory of Shinners and to support his family.
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert commented on Shinner's death while speaking at the Utah Taxpayers Association conference Monday.14 comments on this story
"It's just such a tragedy. There's no words to express the dismay and I know we've offered condolences to the family," he said.
"It reminds us that life is dangerous, life is short. It's unpredictable. Give everybody a hug today that you love, and even those you don't love. We certainly appreciate those men and women in uniform that go out there and every day, out the door to serve and protect and know that they may not be coming home."
Contributing: Sean Moody, Lisa Riley Roche