(ABC4) – January 5 is a sad day for multiple Utah police departments.
The Cache County Sheriff’s Office, the Millard County Sheriff’s Office, Moab City Police, Ogden Police, Provo Police, Salt Lake City Police mourn the deaths of officers who died in the line of duty in separate incidents.
In Cache County in 1974, Lieutenant James Merrill was accidentally killed after a fall south of Smithfield.
According to Utah’s Fallen, a woman used the radio in Merrill’s car to call for an ambulance.
Investigators determined the 40-year-old stopped his car and got out to talk to a friend. That’s when he slipped on the icy road and fell, striking his head on his vehicle.
Despite medical attention, Merrill died in minutes, leaving behind his wife and four children.
In Moab 60 years ago, Officer Lloyd Larsen was shot and and killed while he worked at the police station alone.
According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, the town barber, who had a grudge against police, snuck up behind Larsen as he sat at a desk typing a report. Larsen was shot several times in the back.
At the age of 21, Larsen died, just six weeks after joining the agency. The barber ultimately committed suicide and Larsen left behind a wife and child.
In Millard County in 2010, Deputy Josie Greathouse Fox was killed during a traffic stop east of Delta.
According to Utah’s Fallen, Deputy Fox stopped a vehicle and was approaching when the suspect fired at her with a high-powered rifle.
At least one of the rounds passed through her body armor and inflicted a fatal wound.
Following a statewide hunt, the suspect was found hiding in a shed in Beaver County. Two years later, despite confessing, the suspect was found not-guilty of Fox’s death.
Fox was married and a mother of two children. She was in the same POST class as Officer Jared Francom.
In Ogden in 2012, Officer Francom, who joined the department almost seven years early, was shot and killed while engaging with a suspect in an effort to protect an injured officer.
According to Ogden Police, Francom joined the department in February 2005 and transferred to the Weber-Morgan Narcotics Strike Force in August 2009.
On Jan. 4, 2012, strike force agents served a “knock and announce” search warrant on a home in which a man was suspected of operating a marijuana grow operation in the basement.
While agents were clearing the house, the suspect ambushed them, opened fire, and injured five agents. Francom engaged the suspect in order to protect an injured officer when he was struck by gunfire from the suspect.
Francom died the following morning in Ogden Regional Medical Center. In 2013, the Public Safety Building was renamed the Francom Safety Building in his honor.
In Provo in 2019, Provo Police Officer Joseph Shinners was shot and killed in Orem while attempting to arrest a wanted fugitive.
According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, investigators had received information that the wanted subject was going to be in a Orem retail store.
Provo Police, along with Orem Police, were able to locate the subject and attempted to take him into custody.
During the arrest, the man opened fire, fatally wounding Shinners.
Shinners was transported to Utah Valley Hospital where he succumbed to his wounds after serving the department for three years.
He was posthumously promoted to the rank of Master Police Officer. He is survived by his wife and young sons.
In Salt Lake City in 1951, Sergeant Thomas Stroud was killed at the Salt Lake City Police station.
Utah’s Fallen says the 34-year-old officer and another officer were preparing for a department-sponsored children’s party.
As the officers were loading a vehicle, Sergeant Stroud’s pistol fell from his waistband and struck the sidewalk, causing the firearm to discharge. Stroud was shot through the heart and died immediately.
Stroud was married and the father of two sons. Two of his brothers were also members of the Salt Lake City Police Department.
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