NEPHI — Four Juab County deputies were on routine leave Monday after they shot the suspect in Thursday's crime spree that began with the death of Sgt. Cory Wride, and the Juab County sheriff said they are feeling the strain of having half their workforce gone.
Juab County Sheriff Alden Orme credits those deputies with putting their lives at risk to bring the chase to an end. He said it is fortunate that the deputies in Juab County rarely have to deal with violent situations. However, on Thursday, Orme said the training and bravery of his deputies kicked in when they stopped Jose Garcia from hurting anyone else.
The flags continued to fly at half staff outside the Juab County Sheriff's Office to honor fallen Utah County Sgt. Cory Wride. Orme said Wride's death hits close to home.
"Our hearts break for the deputies in Utah County," Orme said. "We wish their families the best."
Orme said that Thursday started as a regular day for the Juab County deputies but that it changed dramatically when they heard Garcia was heading their way.
"From the minute he came into our county, it was one violent episode after another," Orme said.
Orme said Garcia fired at police and citizens in Nephi, but the violent crime spree ended when the four Juab deputies confronted the suspect without taking cover.
"From reviewing the evidence that is available to us, such a great heroic act on their part to go toe to toe without regard of their own safety to protect the citizens and get in a gun battle is no small feat," Orme said. "So I couldn't be prouder of my deputies."
However, in a small department, four deputies on leave has a definite impact.
"I have about nine patrol guys, so roughly about half of my patrol division is on leave right now while the investigation wraps up," Orme said.
Orme said he's had offers from other sheriffs to help him out, but for now he's relying on overtime shifts with his own deputies.
"It does create some challenges, but we feel honored to be able to pay our respects to the deputies in Utah County and be part of it — to be a safe end to a very violent situation," he said.
Several of the sheriff's department's retired officers will help patrol on Wednesday so that many of the Juab deputies will be able to attend Wride's funeral.