Police say walkie-talkie saved officer's life during shooting

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PROVO — A walkie-talkie may have saved an officer's life during an officer-involved shooting.

According to police, Alex Janis Opmanis, 20, opened fire on officers on Nov. 19 when they served him a no-knock search warrant at his home in Provo, 454 S. 900 East. Opmanis was arrested for investigation of attempted murder, drug possession with intent to distribute and possession of a weapon by a restricted person.

"As the officers announced who they were and were making entry into the house, the suspect fired rounds through the door at the officers who were trying to make entry," according to Sgt. Brandon Post with the Provo Police Department.

One officer was hit by a .22 caliber slug, which lodged into a walkie-talkie he was wearing on his chest, stopping the bullet before it would have struck his bullet proof vest. Opmanis fired other rounds using snake shots.

"He was wearing his protective equipment, but it is always alarming. He took a round where the microphone was," Post said. "Had the microphone and protective equipment not been there, it could have been a lot worse than it was."

He took a round where the microphone was.

–Brandon Post

According to police, no other officers were hit or injured and all were wearing bullet proof vests. Two deputies returned fire.

During a court hearing that determined whether or not Opmanis' $65,000 cash only bail could be lowered to $9,999 cash or bond bail Fourth District Judge Steven Hansen said that the original amount cash only was reasonable for the charges the man faces.

He has only a minor criminal record, according to Utah state court records. He pleaded no contest in 2011 to disorderly conduct, an infraction. In February, he took a plea in abeyance to misdemeanor drug paraphernalia possession and was ordered to undergo substance abuse treatment.

Three investigations are now being conducted in the case: Provo Police Department is investigating the shooting at police, Utah County Attorney's Office is investigating officers' use of deadly force and the Utah County Sheriff's Office is handling the drug investigation.

A mental competency hearing was ordered for Opmanis. It will be held on Jan. 15.


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Sam Penrod


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