OGDEN — Matthew David Stewart admitted he heard yelling and people coming into his home.
But the man accused of shooting six law enforcers, killing one, in January 2012, claimed he thought he was being "invaded" and needed to defend himself.
"Still trying to figure out if it was the wrong way or not. Because I don't think I would have had a chance if I didn't do that. Think they would have just killed me," Stewart told an investigator interviewing him from his hospital bed the day after the shooting.
"So what did you do?" the investigator inquired.
"With a gun."
The chilling recorded conversation was part of a large bulk of audio and video recordings and still photographs released by the Weber County Attorney's Office through a Government Records Access and Management Act request.
Details of the case
On Jan. 4, 2012, members of the Weber-Morgan Narcotics Strike Force entered Stewart's house with a "knock-and-announce" search warrant to investigate an alleged marijuana growing operation, which was later found in his basement.
Officers had spent several minutes walking around the house and announcing their presence when Stewart opened fire on them without warning. Ogden police officer Shawn Grogan was shot in the jaw. To get him out of the house, Ogden police officer Jared Francom provided cover while others grabbed Grogan. Francom was shot and killed.
Four more officers were shot during the confrontation, including one who wasn't even in the house when the incident started but responded later as backup after the shooting began.
Following the shootout, Stewart was hospitalized for nearly a month before being transferred to the Weber County Jail.
Stewart hung himself inside his cell at the Weber County Jail on May 24, closing his case before going to trial.
Stewart's interviews with police
This week, the recorded hospital interviews between Stewart and Robert Carpenter, an investigator with the Weber County Attorney's Office, were released to the Deseret News and KSL.
Carpenter said Stewart waived his Miranda rights and agreed to talk to him.
In a very soft voice, oftentimes inaudible, Stewart said he felt like he was being "invaded," that his military training just kicked in and that he had to defend himself.
They just unloaded down the hallway, and I saw dust and wood fragments flying everywhere. And I hadn't pulled the trigger. I sorta felt like they were definitely there to kill me.
–Matthew David Stewart (to police investigator)
Stewart said he took his gun and "pointed it around the corner to keep them back. And that's when they unloaded."
"They unloaded on you?" Carpenter asked.
"They just unloaded down the hallway, and I saw dust and wood fragments flying everywhere. And I hadn't pulled the trigger. I sorta felt like they were definitely there to kill me."
Stewart claimed the officers shot first, a notion that police and prosecutors strongly refuted.
Stewart claimed he didn't know who was in his house. He said he fired his gun without looking. At one point he said he lost track of how many times he fired and said that he reloaded at least twice.
Also during the recorded conversations, Stewart's distrust of government came out. He talked about his time in the Army and that he left "because of lots and lots of government lies."
There are frequent long pauses between comments during the interview. When pressed more about his ideas of a corrupt government, Stewart said he left the Army because "when I was in, I thought I was fighting for an honorable cause and protecting American people, the Constitution. … I was protecting corporate interests. I was fighting for money.
"My faith in the government has been so undermined through the years," he said.
In another part of the interview, Stewart admitted he heard people yelling in his house when the officers entered. But when Carpenter pressed and asked what they were yelling, Stewart claimed he didn't know.
The crime scene captured on video, in photos
In addition to the nearly two hours of audio interviews with Stewart, hundreds of pictures of his house and other crime scene photos were released. The photographs showed the destruction both inside and outside the residence at 3268 Jackson Ave. Other pictures included police markers of the numerous bullet holes, as well as slugs and shell casings found around the house.
Some of the photos showed blood inside the house, on the police cars used to transport the wounded, and the clothes worn by the injured officers.
A video of Stewart's kitchen showed numerous bullets on the blood-covered laminate floor, as well as more bullets in a drawer and on the countertops alongside at least two discarded guns, broken glass dishes, catalogs and food.
Dash camera videos from two police officers who responded captured the chaotic scene as they shouted, "Where's the downed the officer at?" About a minute later, a burst of gunfire could be heard. Nearly two dozen more gunshots can be heard on the recording after the officer arrived at Stewart's house.
Another set of photos shows investigators re-creating the shooting scene at night by using red and blue lasers shining from the outside of the house to the inside. Video recorded by patrol car cameras also was released.
Photographs of a marijuana growing operation showed three large PVC pipes with at least six plants growing in each of the pipes. The room also contained large water jugs, a humidifier, reflective plastic sheets and a fan.
Officers also found what they thought was an explosive device inside the house. When questioned about it from his hospital bed, Stewart tried to make it sound like it wasn't very big and shouldn't cause any damage or hurt anyone. He claimed it was something a professional bomb squad could easily handle.