As the year comes to a close, the Standard-Examiner takes a look back at some of the most headline-grabbing breaking news events — and some noteworthy mentions — to take place in Northern Utah.
The past year has seen no shortage of breaking news in Northern Utah.
1. Weber, Davis counties see four fatal officer-involved shootings within 25-day span
In a string of unrelated incidents, the Ogden Police Department saw three fatal officer-involved shootings within a few weeks. In the same time frame, an officer from the Syracuse Police Department was involved in a police shooting in Clinton.
The first of the four occurred on Nov. 9, when Ogden officers approached Christopher William Parrish, 33, who allegedly was “acting violently” toward people inside a Walmart on Wall Avenue. After briefly talking to officers, the man fled in a vehicle before crashing. In a yard off 21st Street, Parrish picked up a rock, turned and “rapidly and violently attacked” the two officers.
Officers fired Tasers at him but the stun guns were ineffective, and when Parrish continued to attack, both fired their service handguns, killing him, Watt said. Parrish had a criminal record in Arizona and Oregon, including a conviction for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
The next fatal shooting occurred in Davis County on Nov. 25, when police in Clinton were alerted to a 911 hangup that was placed from the police department’s parking lot. Police quickly found an “emotionally distraught” man that was locked in his car with “multiple firearms within his reach,” according to police. Despite efforts to negotiate with the man, he refused to give up any of the weapons.
While it is not entirely clear what set these events in motion, police say the man was shot by a Syracuse Police officer and died at the scene. He was later identified as Allen Scott Culpepper, a 64-year-old Clinton resident whom police say had a “prior suicidal call history” with the Clinton Police Department.
The second Ogden Police shooting occurred on the night of Nov. 30 when a police officer was flagged down by a woman who said she was kidnapped earlier in the day. Officers approached a man matching the kidnapper’s description who was walking along Washington Boulevard near the Ogden Municipal Building. The suspect pulled out a .45-caliber handgun and started firing at police, which was caught on video by security cameras. Two officers fired at the man, hitting and killing him.
No officers were injured during the shooting, but police vehicles were damaged from the gunfire. Police later identified the man as 37-year-old Richard Galvan, who was wanted at the time of his death in El Paso County, Texas, and Adams County, Colorado, on charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, according to Watt.
The final of the four officer-involved shootings took place during the afternoon hours of Dec. 4 in Ogden, moments after a police pursuit ended in a car crash.
Detectives in Ogden and Woods Cross were conducting surveillance on a man they believed to be a suspect in a number of armed robberies around Weber and Davis counties. The man jumped into a car with a tire flattened by police and tried to get away. The chase ended when the man’s car hit two others at the intersection of 12th Street and Depot Drive in Ogden. When officers told him to get out of the car, the man allegedly pointed a BB gun that looked like a rifle at the officer, prompting him to shoot and kill 18-year-old Ogden resident Anthony Ray Borden-Cortez.
Borden-Cortez was described as “armed, dangerous and willing to shoot it out with officers,” Ogden Police Deputy Chief Eric Young said during a press conference. The Ogden officer who shot Borden-Cortez was not wearing a body camera at the time of the shooting, Young said, but multiple officers who were at the scene at the shooting were wearing theirs.
As of December, all four shootings are still under investigation by the respective agencies assigned to analyze each case.
2. Interstate 15 shut down for several hours after parole fugitive with gun runs onto roadway
An Oct. 8 police standoff with a man with a gun on Interstate 15 at Clearfield completely shut down northern Utah’s busiest roadway for roughly three hours. Police said that the man was pointing the gun at himself, not others.
The incident began when a police officer was investigating a nearby car crash and he saw Christopher Scott Lewis, a 35-year-old from Grantsville, “slumped over and drooling on the ground” under the 650 North overpass near I-15, according to charging documents. The officer approached him and woke up Lewis, asking him to get checked out by a nearby medic. Police later found drug paraphernalia in the man’s bag while he was being examined by a medic.
After Lewis was cleared, the officer told him to walk to the back of his patrol car. Lewis walked to the car and allegedly pulled out a gun, threatening to shoot himself, charging documents say. The officer allegedly told him to drop the gun, but he allegedly fled to I-15, causing the busy roadway to close.
Hours of negotiations with the man continued, until police decided to use “less lethal munitions,” or pepper ball rounds, to safely subdue the man. The tactic worked, and police brought the man into custody around 9 p.m. that night.
At the time of his arrest, Lewis was a parole fugitive out of Tooele County on felony charges of aggravated robbery and threat of terrorism. Lewis was out on bail when he cut off an ankle bracelet to flee from police. A day after the standoff, Lewis was charged with second-degree felony charge of possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person along with misdemeanor drug charges.
More recently, Lewis was indicted by a federal grand jury on Dec. 19 on two felony counts stemming from the standoff. All three cases were ongoing as of December. Lewis is being held without bail at the Weber County Jail, according to jail records.
3. A violent summer featured a number of homicides in Weber County
Police agencies in Weber and Davis counties witnessed a number of homicides this summer, with most of them taking place within a span of just over a month.
The first murder took place in Ogden on June 13, when police were dispatched to an address on the 600 block of 23rd Street and found 23-year-old Denero Lamar Snider laying on the ground with multiple gunshot wounds. Snider was taken to McKay-Dee Hospital where he later died from his injuries. Weeks later, the Ogden Police Department said they had a “person of interest” in the homicide case, 21-year-old Keshaun Mykel Puente.
In November, charges were filed against Puente, tabbing him as the man responsible for Snider’s death. However, police have not been able to locate Puente and believe he may be hiding in Las Vegas, according to charging documents.
Just over a month after Snider was killed, police in Weber County discovered two bodies in less than 24 hours. However, police later determined the two deaths were not connected. On July 15, police found the body of Hilary Halliday, a 41-year-old missing woman, near the Business Depot Ogden. Police said they were not investigating Halliday’s death as a homicide.
In the morning hours of July 16, police were notified of a dead body located behind an Ogden restaurant. When they arrived they found the body of 74-year-old David Marvin Paulson beaten to death near the intersection of 26th Street and Monroe Boulevard. Police later arrested Ogden resident Jose Zamora in connection with the murder. On Dec. 18, Zamora pleaded not guilty to the murder during a preliminary hearing. His trial is set to start in September 2019.
The next local homicide occurred on July 20, when a 10-month-old infant was found dead in a garbage can in an Ogden apartment. A day later police were able to locate and arrest Alex Hidalgo, the child’s father, who was charged with aggravated murder. During an autopsy, the Utah Office of the Medical Examiner determined that the infant had “three penetrating stab wounds to the neck, one of which severed the carotid artery and the jugular vein” and impacted the spine, according to a probable cause statement. Hidalgo is being held without bail, and his next court appearance is scheduled for March 2019.
Weeks later on Aug. 6, a dead woman found by a pedestrian in South Ogden. Police later determined the woman was 54-year-old South Ogden resident Shiela Jean Dunn, who had been repeatedly stabbed throughout her torso and neck. Hours after Dunn’s body was found, police arrested one of her roommates, Jesus Martinez Ramos and charged him with murder. Ramos has a history of stabbing others, and in previous cases has been found to be incompetent to stand trial. However, prosecutors deemed Ramos able to stand trial for murder, and since then Ramos has pleaded not guilty on Dec. 18 to all charges against him.
In the early morning hours of Aug. 16, police were notified of a dead body found near Ogden’s 21st Street Pond. Investigators found the body of 28-year-old Brian Racine near a transient camp, dead from a single gunshot wound. The same day, police arrested and charged Cory Michael Fitzwater in connection to Racine’s death. Days later, police also arrested Dalton James Aiken and filed murder charges against him. During a December preliminary hearing, audio recordings were played in court that featured Fitzwater and Aiken telling family members that the other was responsible for killing Racine. Both have since pleaded not guilty to murder, and the case is ongoing.
4. Suspect calls in three separate bomb threats to Ogden district court, is later arrested
For three straight Thursdays in April, Ogden’s 2nd District Courthouse was evacuated after bomb threats were phoned in to police. The first threat occurred just after 9 a.m. on April 5, when courtrooms were evacuated and later swept by bomb-sniffing dogs before being cleared.
A week later on April 12, another threat was phoned into police. The vague threat caused the evacuation of all Ogden courthouses, including the justice court, juvenile court and district court. Again, the building was cleared without any signs of a bomb present and court dates were pushed back once more. The third and final threat was phoned into police on April 19, and the building was once more searched and yielded no signs of a bomb. Officials told the Standard-Examiner that the threats created headaches for everyone involved, and created lengthy backlogs.
A day after the third bomb threat, police announced they had arrested two people — Tonisha Lester and Jerry Larkin — in connection with the string of threats. Police say Lester phoned in all three threats so Larkin, her boyfriend, wouldn’t have to go to court. Larkin was apparently the only person scheduled to be in court on all three days that the threats were made. Larkin was ultimately not charged in connection with the threats, but was later indicted on drug charges.
Lester, on the other hand, had her case transferred to Davis County to avoid a conflict of interest with Ogden judges. However, state charges were dropped against Lester when federal charges were later filed. The case has yet to be resolved in federal court, and Lester is currently being held without bail at the Davis County Jail.
5. South Ogden man indicted after lighting himself on fire inside Kaysville gas station, injuring officers
A bizarre incident in a Kaysville gas station led to four police officers suffering burns due to a man who had apparently dumped gasoline over his head and threatened to light himself on fire on April 5.
Police said Tyler Ivison of South Ogden reportedly purchased a gasoline can and filled it with gas before walking into a Kaysville Chevron station’s bathroom and dousing himself and the floor with gas. Multiple police officers tried to persuade Ivison to not ignite the gas, but attempts to talk him down were unsuccessful. Officers then tried to physically restrain him from but were again were unsuccessful. Ivison allegedly leaned down and ignited the gas with a lighter, injuring himself and four officers in the process.
Ivison was taken via medical helicopter to the University of Utah to be treated for his “serious burns.” When the helicopter attempted to land, he allegedly broke out of his restraints and began “violently kicking the helicopter’s window and door in an effort to escape,” according to police.
Ivison was indicted in August on multiple felony counts stemming from the incident. In all, he was charged with one count of aggravated arson, a first-degree felony; four counts of assault against a peace officer, all second-degree felonies; criminal mischief, a third-degree felony; and assault against a health care provider, a class A misdemeanor.
In September, Ivison pleaded not guilty to all charges levied against him. He is being held in the Davis County Jail in lieu of a $50,000 bond, and his next court appearance is scheduled for January 2019.
Other important breaking news stories that occurred in Northern Utah in 2018 include:
• In July, a man was arrested in Ogden after police were notified that he was “bragging that he killed someone” in a bar. It just so happened that the man, California resident Robert Sims, had an active arrest warrant out of Ontario, California, in connection with a murder.
Police were dispatched to Historic Place at 162 25th St. after people in the bar heard a man — who police say was Sims — allegedly brag that he killed someone in California, according to police. Just before police were sent to the bar, they received an alert to be on the lookout for a man wanted in connection with a murder on the West Coast. When police arrived, Sims ran and police chased him. Police used a K9 unit and a Taser to subdue Sims and take him into custody.
After his arrest in Ogden, Sims was extradited back to California to face the murder charge.
• A North Ogden teenager was shot and killed in September during what appeared to be a target shooting accident in Rich County. Zackary Kempke was riding in the backseat of his parent’s car when he was struck in the head by a bullet, killing him.
Police say the bullet came from an individual who was shooting at a target “several hundred feet” from the vehicle. Thick brush and trees prevented the individual and other witnesses from seeing the road down range. The individual, who police believe to be 40-year-old Kayleen Richins, was later charged with one count of negligent homicide, a class A misdemeanor.
On Dec. 12, Richins pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charge, according to court records. As of December, a sentencing date and any additional information in the case was not immediately available.
Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments.