6 Police Officers Shot in Utah, 1 Dead, 5 Injured

Last year officer fatalities were up 17 percent nationwide.

ByABC News
January 5, 2012, 11:05 AM

Jan. 5, 2012 -- One police officer has died and five others were shot in a wild shootout overnight in Ogden, Utah. The shootings continue a dangerous trend for law enforcement with the number of police killed by gunfire spiking 20 percent in 2011.

The Utah officers, part of a drug task force, were trying to serve a warrant at a home just before 9 p.m. Wednesday local time when gunfire erupted.

Neighbors say it sounded as if AK 47s rifles being fired -- quick pops followed by a pause, then a barrage of gunfire. As many as 40 shots were fired.

The suspect, who was also wounded, tried to escape on foot, but didn't make it far, according to police. He was eventually cornered near a backyard shed and taken into custody.

Jared Francom, the Ogden officer who died from his injuries, was a seven-year veteran of the force who was married and a father of two. His five fellow officers are all hospitalized with injuries ranging from critical to serious.

"We came running outside to see what was going on," neighbor Janessa Vanderstappen told the Deseret News. "Officers told us to go back in our house."

Vanderstappen said she went back inside, and minutes later heard yelling coming from the backyard. She walked onto the back porch to see officers addressing a person hiding in a nearby shed.

"There's cops telling him to 'put your hands up, put your hands up,"' she said.

The suspect, Matthew David Stewart, 37, suffered injuries that are not life threatening, the AP reported, though it's unclear if he was shot. Stewart is in a hospital under guard and it wasn't immediately clear if he had an attorney.

The team serving the search warrant was made up of officers from the Weber County Sheriff's Office, local police departments and the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.

The shooting comes after a deadly year in 2011 for law enforcement, with two of the most recent incidents occurring in Virginia and New York.

In early December, a gunman ambushed Virginia Tech police officer Deriek Crouse as he sat in his police car. Crouse was not able to return fire and died at the scene.

New York Police Officer Peter Figoski, a 22-year veteran of the force, died December 12 after being critically wounded while he responded to a robbery in Brooklyn.

Last year officer fatalities were up 17 percent nationwide and police killed by gunfire spiked 20 percent. It was the deadliest year for law enforcement since 2007.

In basic terms more armed criminals are willing to go toe to toe with police.

A total of 1,794 law enforcement officers died in the line of duty during the past 10 years, an average of one death every 53 hours or 163 per year. Last year 177 officers were killed.