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KANE COUNTY -- After a Kane County deputy was shot in the line of duty Thursday night, news of his death is reverberating throughout the state. Friends, family and other law enforcement agencies are shocked at what has occurred.
Flags throughout Utah are flying half-staff in honor of 41-year-old Deputy Brian Harris, who was killed while pursuing a suspect across the Utah border in Fredonia, Ariz., Thursday night. The search continued into the next day to apprehend the suspect, 23-year-old Scott Curley, who has led more than 120 law enforcement officials on a chase across both states.
Harris was a Gulf War veteran who served in the Army from 1988 to 1992. He was with the Kane County Sheriff's Office for nearly two decades and was one of only 12 members of the department.
Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Sgt. Tony Carrubba went through the police academy with Harris.
"Brian's the type of guy that even if you're not in contact with him on a regular basis, he was really the type of guy that would give you the shirt off his back at a moment's notice," Carrubba said.
Harris is the 133rd law enforcement officer in Utah killed in the line of duty, and the first from Kane County.
"It's really a big loss, not only to the law enforcement community but to his community as well," he said. "With Kane County being such a smaller populated area, a lot of people knew Brian and respected him."
Dick Brewer, the manager of the Kanab Airport, said Harris was the "nicest guy you'd ever want to meet, helpful. If I ever needed something he'd take care of it for me. Just really a nice guy."
The loss of Harris will be felt in a big way in the small community he lived and served.
"It was terrible, terrible," Brewer said. "In small towns you don't see things like that. We don't have deaths, especially police officers. And it was just kind of a shock."
Brewers' comments are echoed by others. Messages posted by KSL.com readers include:
"May God bless and comfort the officer's family."
"Thank you Deputy Brian Harris for giving your life to protect others."
In addition to the outpouring of support, there is obvious anger toward Curley, the man accused of the murder:
"I hope those officers searching for him get to take him down."
"Think of all the hurt you've caused. You are a sorry excuse for a human being."
Though the Kane County Sheriff's Office is just a small agency, his death is felt by any and all who wear a badge.
"It really does, it sends shock waves through the entire law enforcement community whether you're working that area or if it's an officer you didn't even know," Carrubba said. "It still hits home because we are a family, in a sense."
Harris lived in Orderville with his wife and two children. He was a member of the city council there.
A fund* has been set up at State Bank of Southern Utah in the name of the Brian Harris Family. For more information contact Rhonda Gant (Human Resource Director of Kane County) at 435-644-4929.
Funeral plans are pending. When it does take place, law enforcement officers from all over the region will attend.
*KSL.com has not verified the accuracy of the information provided with respect to the account nor does ksl.com assure that the monies deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account you should consult your own advisers and otherwise proceed at your own risk.