Man who tried to kill Orem police officers finally sent to prison

Man who tried to kill Orem police officers finally sent to prison

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OREM - A man wanted for trying to kill two Orem police officers more than 13 years ago is finally headed to prison.

For years, police didn't know who Reinhold Neumann was. When they finally got a DNA match and arrested him, he jumped bail and lived on the run until last August.

Wednesday's sentencing finally gave the officers some closure, as they offered forgiveness to the man who tried to kill them.

It's nice to finally see justice served.

–Sgt. John McCombs

Both have had emotional wounds from this, one suffered serious physical injuries that eventually ended his career as a police officer. Now, after 13 years of waiting for justice, both offered forgiveness to the man, who tried to kill them.

A Sunday morning in November of 1999 changed Officer Garrett Smit's life.

"He was a player," Smit said. "He knew the game here. He wasn't going to stick around and be arrested by us."

When police stopped Neumann, he tried to flee.

"I didn't have enough time to get out of the way, somebody trying to kill you," said Smit. "I laid a few rounds through the window trying to stop him, but unfortunately it wasn't enough. I ended up getting knocked down and drug underneath the vehicle."

The driver got away. Though his burned-out vehicle was found a few days later in Juab County, his identity remained a mystery until blood from the scene matched Neumann's DNA.

I don't hold any ill will. I forgive the guy. If they ask for forgiveness, then you forgive them. We do a job, the injuries stick around sometimes.

–Officer Garrett Smit

"It's nice to finally see justice served," said Sgt. John McCombs, the other officer involved.

For McCombs, the process has been frustrating. After Neumann was arrested, he jumped bail and remained on the run for eight more years until he was caught for DUI in Las Vegas and his fingerprints triggered a match in a national crime database.

Last September, McCombs faced Neumann in jail.

"When I first saw him, I had a lot of anger, a lot of bitter feelings," he said. "But after talking to him awhile, he is a likeable person, but like I explained to him, he still has penance to society he has to serve."

Smit has tried to move forward.

"I don't hold any ill will," he said. "I forgive the guy. If they ask for forgiveness, then you forgive them. We do a job, the injuries stick around sometimes."

Those injuries finally required Smit to take a disability retirement two years ago.

More than two dozen Orem officers came to court to stand with McCombs and Smit Wednesday as Neumann was sent to prison.

"It means the world to our colleagues," said Smit. "It means the world to the community to see that justice can honestly be served. I think that's where we're at now."

The judge ordered Neumann serve consecutive prison sentences, so he faces a long time behind bars.

Sgt. McCombs remains on the force in Orem, while Officer Smit is now an investigator in Florida, handling crimes against children.


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