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Friday, October 5, 2012

RMEF Gives Back to Officers Injured in Deadly Shooting

January 4, 2012, is a day that sent an entire community to its knees. At least 12 members of the Weber-Morgan Narcotics Strike Force tried to serve a warrant in Ogden, Utah. They knocked and announced their presence and then, as per protocol, entered because there was no response. A gun battle broke out. When it ended, one officer was dead and five others were shot. The suspect, a former Army soldier, was also shot who, according to his father, was “self-medicating” with marijuana to deal with his mental problems. 

Jared Francom
The shooting took the life of Agent Jared Francom, a member of the Ogden Police Department (OPD) for seven years, who is survived by a wife and two young children. Nate Hutchinson of the Weber County Sheriff’s Office was in stable condition after getting shot four times: twice in the vest, once in the arm and once in the hip. Kasey Burrell (OPD) was in critical condition after getting shot in the stomach and taking fragments to the face. Shawn Grogan (OPD) was in critical condition after getting shot in the face. Michael Rounkles (OPD) was also in critical condition with a gun shot wound to the leg. Jason Vanderward of the Roy Police Department was shot in the hip and released. While the five recovered from their injuries, they and their families, the Utah law enforcement “family,” and the Ogden and northern Utah communities mourned the tragedy.

Matthew Arden Hatfield/Standard-Examiner
The incident also hit close to home for Jen Chavez because she has family and friends on the police force. After the shooting, she and her Golden Spike Chapter of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation took action. Jen and other members tried to set up an elk hunt to show appreciation for the five officers but ran into limitations because of scheduling. Instead, they worked with other partners to set up an early season goose hunt in Wyoming. They contacted Adam Eakle of KSL Outdoors, who previously videotaped an RMEF sponsored hunt in 2011 for a handicapped youth later diagnosed with Leukemia. His response was “I’ll be there.” For the five officers, the hunt was on.  Click here to see the TV story.

“Honestly, they were completely humbled. They were shocked and ecstatic the whole time we had communications back and forth,” said Chavez. “’We’re so excited you guys are doing this for us. We’re so happy to be here. Thank you so much!’ they said. None of them had ever been bird hunting. They went big game hunting but not bird hunting and one of the guys had never hunted a day I his life so he was super excited.”
The last of the five officers finally returned to month about a month ago.

“It was more of RMEF giving back to the community that helps us out. So for us to give this back to the officers who protect our city, it was really gratifying,” Jen added.

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