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OGDEN — Ogden's newly appointed interim police chief has had a rough first week on the job. But the shooting that claimed the life of one of his officers hasn't robbed Chief Wayne Tarwater of his hope.
In a press conference Friday afternoon, Tarwater told reporters he couldn't share many details about the investigation into the shootings. But he did confirm that not all of the officers wounded were among the initial task force members who first entered the home. Some backup officers were shot, although Tarwater declined to say how many or who.
He said about a dozen Ogden police officers are on standard paid administrative leave because of the shootout, including those who were wounded. Officers are typically placed on leave when they fire their weapon.
Tarwater also said he's given an internal review board additional time to determine what happened.
We've had every agency in Weber County, basically almost every agency in the state, has offered to help — whether it's manpower or any assistance that we want of them.
–Ogden interim Police Chief Wayne Tarwater
"Because in this instance, where we have so many witnesses that they're gonna have to interview, and individuals that are laid up and may not be able to be interviewed for a while, it just doesn't make sense to try to rush anything," Tarwater explained.
The chief says his department has been heartened by the support from the community they've received — from gift baskets and bouquets of flowers to donations.
Police officers from around Utah are also offering help after the shooting.
"We've had every agency in Weber County, basically almost every agency in the state, has offered to help — whether it's manpower or any assistance that we want of them," Tarwater said.
He says the department is going to take the agencies up on that offer this Sunday.
"This Sunday, from 6:30 in the morning to 6:30 Monday morning, our entire Ogden City calls for service will be handled by outside agencies so that we can allow our officers to have a complete 24 hours off, time to decompress, be with their families, try to heal a little bit," Tarwater said.
Two officers upgraded to fair condition
Meanwhile, two of the officers shot while attempting to serve a warrant Wednesday night in Ogden are now listed in fair condition.
Ogden police officer Shawn Grogan and Weber County Sheriff's Sgt. Nate Hutchinson were listed Friday morning in fair condition at McKay-Dee Hospital Center.
Hospital staff says Hutchinson could be released in a couple of days. Weber County undersheriff Kevin McLeod visited with Hutchinson Friday morning and said he is doing well.
(Hutchinson's) in good spirits, he's recovering and doing well and said to let the public know and the media that he's doing fine.
–Weber County undersheriff Kevin McLeod
"He's in good spirits," he said. "He's through with all the surgeries, at least at this point that he requires. He's in good spirits, he's recovering and doing well and said to let the public know and the media that he's doing fine."
The hospital staff says officer Grogan made some big improvements overnight.
"Grogan went from critical to stable; that's great," McKay-Dee Hospital Center spokesman Chris Dallin said. "That means he could be transferred out of the ICU today (Friday), which means he is doing well."
According to a law enforcement source, Grogan was shot in the face through the cheek and Hutchinson was shot four times, twice to his vest, once to his arm and once through his hip.
Ogden police officers Kasey Burrell and Michael Rounkles remained hospitalized in critical condition.
- Shawn Grogran - fair
- Sgt. Nate Hutchinson - fair
- Kasey Burrell - critical
- Michael Rounkles - critical
- Jason Vanderwarf - treated and released
Burrell was shot twice, once in the stomach, and his face was hit with fragments; Rounkles was shot in the leg next to his femoral artery, and the bullet was still lodged inside; and Roy police officer Jason Vanderwarf was shot in the hip. Vanderwarf was released from the hospital Thursday.
Agent Jared Francom, who had been with the Ogden Police Department for seven years, was killed in the line of duty.
The alleged gunman, Matthew David Stewart, 37, suffered injuries that were not life-threatening, according to police, and remained hospitalized Friday under guard.
A tough road ahead
The officers all have a long road to recovery, not only physically but emotionally. Tarwater says grief counselors have been working around the clock with them and their families.
From his observations, the chief said it has been hard on those who were not only involved that night, but those who weren't there, too.
"I think the biggest thing I've noticed for the officers, they just want to help," he said. "I almost think it's harder on the dispatchers and the officers who weren't there than the officers that were. There's that frustration of wanting to help, wanting to do something, but you just can't do it."
Francom had been serving as president of the Ogden City Police Benefit Association.
"It's tough. It's an emotional roller coaster. I'm going to miss Jared as a friend, and a co-worker," said an emotional officer Don Johnson, who now serves as president of the association that provides support to the families of officers in needs.
"He had the support of lots of people because he was a very strong person and a good leader," Johnson said.
Ogden Mayor Mike Caldwell says the injured officers and their families have been offered benefits packages and, depending on their recovery needs, other means of assistance will be provided.
"We're gathering all of our options. There are federal grants and a tremendous number of people that have come out of the community to make donations," Caldwell said.
Accounts* are set up in each of the officers' names at the Bank of Utah. All funds raised will go directly to the officer to whom the funds were donated.
Individuals that would like to donate to any of these officers can go to any Bank of Utah location and provide the name of the officer(s) or click here.
Details of the funeral services for Agent Jared Francom have not been announced, but they're expected to be held sometime next week.
*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 advisors and otherwise proceed at your own risk.