Outpouring of support in the wake of tragic Ogden shooting

Flag at half-mast at the St. George Police Department. Photo by Mori Kessler

OGDEN – In the wake of the tragic shootout in Ogden that left one officer dead and five others wounded on Wednesday, a community and a state has come together in an outpouring of support.

Six members of the Weber-Morgan Narcotics Strike Force were serving a search warrant to 3268 Jackson Ave. Wednesday evening when gunfire was exchanged between the officers and the suspect.

The six officers and the suspect, 37-year-old Matthew David Stewart, sustained injuries from the shootout and were transported to area hospitals.

In a press conference held by Ogden interim Police Wayne Tarwater Thursday morning, it was announced that a member of the task force, Agent Jared Francom, had died.

“Agent Francom has served the citizens of Ogden with honor for seven years,” Tarwater said. “He is survived by his wife and two young children.”

Francom’s fellow task force officers are:

  • Agent Shawn Grogan of the Ogden Police Department
  • Agent Kasey Burrell of the Ogden Police Department
  • Officer Michael Rounkles of the Ogden Police Department
  • Sgt. Nate Hutchinson of the Weber County Sheriff’s Office
  • Agent Jason Vanderwarf of the Roy Police Department

As for Stewart, Tarwater said he remained at a local hospital under guard with non-life threatening injuries. He is said to have a limited criminal history.

According to a report from ABC 4 News, family members describe Stewart a decorated veteran of the first Gulf War who may have been suffering from“some mental issues.”

The investigation into the shooting is currently ongoing.

Accounts have been created at the Bank of Utah for the officers and families involved in the shootout. Anyone wishing to make a donation may do so at any branch of the Bank of Utah. Funds donated to a specific account will go directly to the named officer.

Outpouring of support

Despite the tragedy, a community, and in some cases, an entire state has come together in support of the officers and families affected by the shooting.

Gov. Gary Herbert addressed the shooting in a public statement:

“Along with all Utahns, I was shocked and saddened to learn of the shooting of six police officers from the Weber-Morgan Narcotics Strike Force last night in Ogden.  Jeanette and I offer our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Agent Jared Francom, who died in the line of duty.  Our hearts particularly go out to Agent Francom’s wife and two young children, who have been tragically robbed of the presence of their beloved husband and father.

“Our thoughts and prayers are also with the five officers currently being treated for their injuries.  We wish them a quick and complete recovery, and are thankful for the dedicated medical professionals who are caring for them.

“This is a dreadful reminder that we should all be grateful for our brave law enforcement professionals who daily put their lives on the line in order to keep our communities safe.”

Gov. Herbert also authorized that flags be lowered at half mast on Thursday in honor of Agent Francom.

From Mayor Dan McArthur of St. George:

“These are the guys who are going to the danger while we’re running from it,” he said “It’s important for us to appreciate our public safety officials. My heart goes out to [the officers] and their families.”

From Twitter

Congressional candidate Dan Liljenquist:

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the officers involved in last night’s shooting and to their friends and families. RIP Officer Francom.

Representative Jim Matheson:

Tragedy in Ogden w/police officers shot reminds us of risks every day to those who protect our safety. Thoughts & prayers w/families.

St. George Police Chief Marlon Stratton:

Our hearts are heavy with the tragic death of Officer Jared Francom in Ogden last night. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.

Davis County Sheriff’s Office:

We are deeply saddened at the loss of one of our brothers in blue in Ogden. Our prayers are with you!

The Long Peak Police (serving Highland and Alpine, Utah):

Our condolences to Ogden Police Officer Jared Francom and his family. May God be with you in this time of difficulty

The Weber-Morgan Health Department:

Our thoughts are with the individuals & families involved in this tragic incident. It’s a very sad day in Ogden.

South Salt Lake Police Department:

A tragic night for UT law enforcement. Our thoughts & prayers are with the 6 officers and their families. RIP Officer Francom.

Officers from around the county are also leaving their condolences for Agent Francom on the Officer Down Memorial Page.

* Persons accused are presumed innocent unless found guilty in a court of law.

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Copyright 2011 St. George News. This material may not be published or rewritten without written consent.

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1 Comment

  • Andy Gundersen January 6, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    It is truly sad that an officer lost his life in this misadventure. Another family that is broken….a tragic end to a good man’s life. But, who mourns for David Stewart? An American vet that was in his bubble, in his domain when his world was turned upside down by an over zealous police force. Would someone explain to me why such excessive force was used to serve a warrant on a guy that was using marijuana in his own home? He was probably asleep, and woke up to the chaos of having his door broke down. I would like everyone that reads this to try to imagine what it would be like to wake up to the horror of armed men storming into your house. This incident should serve as illustration of how archaic our drug laws are, and how these officers completely mishandled this encounter. You don’t kick a hornet’s nest and not expect the hornets to come after you. It is another sad chapter in the miserable failure of America’s war on drugs. Marijuana should be legalized, and this incident will further the cause to that end.

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