OGDEN -- Matthew David Stewart, accused of killing Ogden Police Officer Jared Francom and wounding five other police officers, told an acquaintance he would shoot law enforcement personnel who attempted to raid his marijuana-growing operation, authorities said Friday.
"Officers investigating this case have learned that the defendant had previously made statements to an acquaintance during the summer of 2011 that if police attempted to stop the marijuana cultivation he would go out in a blaze of glory and shoot to kill," says an arrest warrant affidavit issued by the Weber County Attorney's Office.
Stewart, 37, was charged Friday with aggravated murder, seven counts of attempted aggravated murder and production of a controlled substance in a drug-free zone. Stewart's house is directly across the street from a meeting house of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, making the house a drug-free zone.
Weber County Attorney Dee Smith said in a prepared statement Friday that he intends to seek the death penalty against Stewart.
Stewart remains under police guard at Ogden Regional Medical Center. Once he is released from the hospital he will be booked into the Weber County Jail, Smith said.
Stewart's dad, Michael Stewart, of Ogden, said there are "two sides to every story" regarding his son's criminal case. "We are hoping for the best but preparing for whatever is to come" he said.
Francom and other Weber-Morgan Narcotics Strike Force agents were ambushed about 8:40 p.m. Jan. 4 while executing a knock-announce search warrant at Stewart's small, red-brick home at 3268 Jackson Ave.
Francom was struck six times with bullets from a Beretta 9mm semi-automatic pistol fired by Stewart, the arrest warrant affidavit says.
Other officers wounded were strike force agents Shawn Grogan and Kasey Burrell, both of the Ogden Police Department; Sgt. Nate Hutchinson, Weber County Sheriff's Office; and Jason Vanderwarf, Roy Police Department. Ogden officer Michael Rounkles was also wounded when he arrived and tried to help the injured strike force agents.
Rounkles and Burrell were both in fair condition Friday at McKay-Dee Hospital. The other wounded officers have been released from the hospital.
The arrest warrant affidavit details the following scenario at Stewart's home where strike force agents suspected marijuana was being grown:
When agents arrived at the home, they repeatedly knocked on the south door while loudly announcing, "Police. Search warrant" several times and getting no answer.
As the agents cleared the basement and the main level of the residence, Stewart opened fire on them from a concealed position at close range with the Beretta.
Grogan was struck in the face and went to the floor, and strike force agent Derek Draper returned fire as he was fired upon. Other agents came to help Draper and Grogan.
Stewart fired repeatedly at those agents, striking Burrell at least twice and mortally wounding Francom, according to the affidavit.
Stewart shot Hutchinson several times as he returned fire and helped wounded officers evacuate the home. In addition, Stewart shot Vanderwarf in the hip, advanced on officers as they tried to evacuate the residence, and continued firing at them as they moved away from the home toward Jackson Avenue.
Rounkles, in full police uniform, arrived at the house shortly after Stewart began shooting at the agents. He entered the house to help the fallen officers and was shot twice.
Once police had evacuated the residence, Stewart moved to the front door and continued shooting into the street and front yard at the already wounded agents and fellow agents who were trying to evacuate them. Meanwhile, other members of the Ogden Police Department arrived in marked patrol cars with emergency lights activated.
Police returned fire, causing Stewart to retreat from the front door of the home and leave through the northeast bedroom window into the backyard. He then entered a small storage shed near the northeast corner of the house as additional OPD officers announced their presence in the backyard.
Stewart continued to fire the Beretta directly at Ogden Police Officer Tyler Crouch, who was east of the house in the backyard.
The affidavit does not detail how Stewart was wounded, the nature of his injuries or how he was captured by officers. However, sources have indicated Stewart gave himself up, walking out of the shed with his "hands out."
The day after the shooting, Davis Metro Strike Force agents executed the original search warrant for Stewart's residence and dismantled an active marijuana grow operation and recovered multiple marijuana plants, artificial lighting and a watering system, the arrest warrant affidavit states.
"This isn't a happy day," Randy Richards, Stewart's attorney, said Friday evening about the charges against his client.
Richards said he hadn't seen the charging documents so he couldn't comment in detail. He formally entered his appearance as Stewart's attorney in papers filed with 2nd District Court the day after the shootings.
He also filed an Invocation of Stewart's Fifth Amendment Rights Against Self-Incrimination, which has been served on the Weber County Attorney's Office.
"That's to prevent police from talking to him without me present," he said.
Richards said doctors have not advised him about whether Stewart can be released from Ogden Regional Medical Center, where he is under police guard.
Of his condition, Richards would only say he is in the intensive care unit of the hospital.
Typically at least two defense attorneys are retained in a death penalty case.
"That's something we're still looking at," Richards said.
-- Standard-Examiner reporter Tim Gurrister contributed to this report.