Sunset officer shoots armed man

Tuesday , March 18, 2014 - 3:33 PM

Loretta Park

SUNSET — Neighbors of a 42-year-old man shot three times by police described him as angry and unpleasant.

Most of those who talked to the media did not want their name to be used, but said the man, whose name has not yet been released by police, was not friendly.

The shooting happened at 1:30 a.m. Monday at 1086 N. 250 West, two blocks north of Doxey Elementary School.

Police closed 250 West from 975 North to 1125 North to all traffic, including pedestrians, for most of the day while investigators processed the scene. Students at Doxey Elementary and Sunset Junior High were detoured one block east of the shooting while going to school in the morning.

A neighbor who lives across the street from the home where the shooting occurred said he heard the noise and got up to see what happened.

He then saw an emergency crew carry a man out on a stretcher.

“He’s not a nice man,” the neighbor said about the man who was shot. “He’s always angry about something.”

Kevin Story, who lives a block south of the home, said he has seen the family outside many times but has never interacted with them.

“I’ve seen him out there with his kids getting his truck ready for camping or loading up the boat,” Story said.

Story said he moved to Sunset because it is quiet.

“This is a quiet town and the quietest neighborhood,” he said.

Judy Wood has lived in her Sunset home for “years and years.” She woke up to the sound of three shots.

“I was in bed and I heard, ‘Boom. Boom. Boom,’ ” Wood said. “I thought it was kids with firecrackers and then woke up this morning to this.”

The incident began at 1:19 a.m. Monday when a 911 call came in to Clearfield Police Dispatch, said Sunset Police Chief Ken Eborn. The dispatcher could only hear static.

Officers later learned the cellphone from which the call came is connected to an alarm system, so when it was smashed it automatically called 911.

Clearfield dispatch called a Sunset officer to go to the address. When the officer arrived, he could see through the glass front door a man waving a gun, Eborn said.

A neighbor who witnessed the shooting told investigators that the police officer distinctly and clearly yelled at the man to put his gun down, Eborn said. The man then fired a round into the wall inside the house.

The officer yelled several more times for the man to put down his gun, Eborn said, but the man turned and pointed the gun at the officer. The officer shot the man three times in the abdomen area.

The officer “did everything he could do with what he was given to defuse the situation and get the man to put down his gun,” Eborn said.

The man, who was still in critical condition Monday evening, was taken to Ogden Regional Medical Center, where he underwent surgery.

Eborn said that from what he knows of the situation he believes the officer did the right thing, because a woman and several children were inside the home.

The woman, who is the wife of the man who was shot, told police she and her husband had been verbally arguing for several hours. Alcohol was also a factor in the shooting. The children did not witness the shooting, Eborn said.

The woman and the children were questioned and then released to family members.

Police have been to the home several times in the past few years for minor incidents, such as neighbor disputes, Eborn said. The man got into a verbal altercation with a garbage-truck driver because “he did not like how he was collecting the garbage,” Eborn said.

“But we haven’t been to any kind of call that would indicate we’d be responding to something like this,” he said.

The officer is on paid administrative leave for at least two weeks and will undergo counseling — mandatory in a police-involved shooting — before he returns to work, Eborn said. There are eight officers in the Sunset Police Department.

The officer has been with the department for less than a year after graduating from the police academy, Eborn said.

“He’s been a good officer,” Eborn said.

He said the officer had just recently been put on the graveyard shift.

“He’s pretty shook up.”

Eborn has been with the Sunset Police Department for 26 years and said this is the first police-involved shooting he can remember in the community.

The county’s Critical Incident Response Team, which includes detectives from various police agencies, is investigating the shooting.

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