OGDEN — The year gave us much to celebrate, from the Olympics to the grand opening of City Creek. But we also faced many horrors. The Ogden Police Department suffered perhaps the worst tragedy in its history as five officers were injured and one was killed in a January shootout.
The night of Jan. 4, a team of officers with the Weber Morgan Narcotics Strike Force served a knock and announce warrant at the home of Matthew David Stewart.
Not long after entry, police said Stewart let off a flurry of rounds. In the exchange of gunfire, six officers were shot. Agent Jared Francom took several bullets himself, dying later that night.
Stewart was eventually pulled from a backyard shed, also with injuries.
"Agent Francom was one of the more experienced officers in our unit, and he will be sorely missed," said Lt. Darin Parke, Strike Force Commander with Weber and Morgan Narcotics.
The tragedy affected a whole community. Francom's funeral brought thousands of law enforcement officers and around 14,000 residents who lined the streets to offer their respects.
As Stewart recovered and appeared in court, attorneys started to put forth his argument: that it was dark and there were loud intruders in his home. He claimed he thought he was being robbed.
"Nobody besides those of us who are close enough to really get to know him don't know anything about him," said Erna Stewart, Stewart's sister-in-law. "Everyone's jumped to conclusions.
After several days of testimony in a preliminary hearing from officers, experts and witnesses, Judge Noel Hyde decided the state's case against Stewart had enough evidence to go to trial.
Prosecutors have said they will seek the death penalty against Stewart and they will not offer any plea deals. He has entered a not guilty plea and is expected to get a trial date after a hearing early next year.