PROVO/OREM (ABC 4 News) – The suspect in the fatal shooting that took the life of Provo Police Officer Joseph Shinners had a history of threatening violence against police, according to investigators.
During a press conference held at Provo City Chambers Sunday afternoon, Chief Gary Giles said Orem Police Department would be taking over the criminal side of the investigation since the incident took place in their jurisdiction. He said he would not be releasing the suspect’s name on Sunday.
“This is not about him (the suspect) today. This is about Officer Shinners, his family, as well as all the police officers, paramedics, and dispatchers involved last night,” said Chief Giles.
Giles said officers responded to a call at 9:53 p.m. Saturday to the Bed, Bath, and Beyond in Orem at 50 W. University Parkway of a wanted fugitive that had been making threats to the police in the past. Officers said they tried to bring him into custody as ‘quickly and tactfully’ as possible.
The only details released about the suspect was that he is a 40-year-old man, who is known to be homeless, and occasionally stayed with friends in the Provo-Orem area.
Sgt. Nick Dupaix with Provo PD said preliminary investigation showed it was the suspect who fired the shot that hit and subsequently killed Officer Shinners. But during Sunday’s press conference, Chief Giles was not able to confirm that.
He said Officer Shinners returned gunfire and was able to hit the suspect at least once.
Officer Shinners was then transported to Utah Valley Regional Medical Center, where he later died.
Giles said the suspect is in stable condition and being guarded at the hospital. He faces multiple charges, included aggravated murder of a police officer.
“I just want to say that when a police officer is killed in the line of duty, especially when it’s at the hand of evil, it’s not just family or a profession that loses someone they love. It’s a piece of our society,” said Chief Giles.
Stay with ABC 4 News as we will bring you the latest information as it comes in.