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Officer Stephen Anderson didn't deserve to die as he did Monday, at the hands of a prison inmate he was trying to help. The contrast is stunning - the quintessential "nice guy" ruthlessly gunned down, purportedly by a man filled with inexplicable hate.
Based on what has been said about him, Officer Anderson was the kind of person most Utahns would have enjoyed knowing. "Kind," "gentle," "compassionate," are words used to describe the 60-year-old devoted husband, father and grandfather; a community stalwart and deeply religious man who was always reaching out in service to others!
The tragedy raises questions, of course, about corrections department procedures for transporting inmates, especially those considered to be dangerous. We trust a review will lead to meaningful changes to assure the safety of officers, hospital personnel and others in the future.
As well, appropriate questions have been raised about the way prisons have become spawning grounds for radical gangs, whose members wreak havoc inside the institutions, as well as outside once they leave prison. Such issues demand the fullest evaluation in view of what happened Monday.
Now, though, is the time for the Utah community to mourn the loss of Officer Stephen Anderson. KSL extends our deepest condolences to his family, friends and fellow officers.