WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – The first police officer to be killed in the line of duty in the history of the West Valley City Police Department, friends, family, and people in the communities 25 year-old Officer Cody Brotherson served say he was living his dream of being a police officer.
“Today is a very sad day,” said West Valley City Police Chief Lee Russo.
This morning American flags lined the entrance to the West Valley City Police Department and blue ribbons were tied to fences near the entrance. Paying tribute to a man many said loved his job of being a police officer. Inside a wreath and a picture of Cody Brotherson stood memorializing and honoring the life of one of their own.
“The offficer killed was Officer Cody Brotherson, 25 year-old individual. Three year veteran of our police department. Officer Brotherson is the first officer to be lost in the line of duty in the history of this city,” said Chief Russo.
Around 3:30 Sunday morning West Valley City Police Officers observed a suspicious vehicle in the area of 4100 South just east of Redwood Road. They witnessed three individuals head towards the Boulder Pines Apartment Complex at 1535 W 4040 S. There officers witnessed the three steal a vehicle from the parking lot.
“Those officers endeavored to stop that vehicle but that vehicle fled,” said Russo.
Officers pursued the vehicle as it fled heading westbound on 4100 S. Several other officers responded to help. One of those officers was Officer Brotherson. As they attempted to stop the vehicle with spike strips near the intersection of 2200 W. 4100 S. Officer Brotherson was struck and killed. Thirty seconds after the crash an officer on scene radioed for medical assistance.
“Our hearts are heavy for his loss,” said Russo.
Investigators still do not know whether the vehicle veered off the road intending to hit Brotherson. The suspects vehicle came to a stop just north of the roadway and the suspects, reportedly all under the age of 18, fled the scene. Officers were able to detain all three and take them into custody. The critical incidence response team was mobilized and investigators interviewed all three individuals. As of Sunday night there was no word on possible charges or the identities of the three individuals.
A member of the West Valley City Police Department since December, 2013, his loss was felt tremendously by his loved ones especially his brothers and sisters in blue. Grief counselors were brought in to help those having a tough time dealing with his death.
“He was a young man born and raised in West Valley who chose to serve his community. A true hometown hero,” added Russo. “Cody was one of my first hires. I came in in August of 2013 and Cody was hired in December, 2013. He was part of the organization to change the future.”
Officer Brotherson is survived by his parents, his two younger brothers, and his fiancé. Having lived in West Valley City he had recently purchased a home in South Weber City with his fiancé and the couple had begun remodeling their home.
Chief Russo: #OfficerBrotherson was a 3 year veteran and first death for the department. He is survived by his parents, 2 brothers & fiancé pic.twitter.com/ANVCNj1bTB— Aldo Vazquez (@ABC4_Aldo) November 6, 2016
“He just had a great personality. Very positive,” said Susan Norsworthy.
Norsworthy met Brotherson a little over a year and a half ago. As president of the HOA in her neighborhood she reached out to a friend at the West Valley City Police Department for help recruiting three to four officers to patrol their neighborhood on their days off. Officer Brotherson was one of them.
“We would joke around a lot. He had a lot of funny likes. He always brought a green Gatorade with him. That Jessica [his fiancé] always stocked him up on green Gatorade to take to work,” she said.
During the time he was there they became very close. She says Brotherson would always call when he arrived and would drop by to visit with her. And she remembers a young man who always had a smile on his face and treated everyone with respect.
“He would talk about his life, our life, things in the community. We would joke around a lot. He was very goal oriented. He talked about his high school, he went to Hunter High School. He was always pleasant,” said Norsworthy. “He said that he felt like a different kind of police officer. That he gave everybody the benefit of the doubt.”
She says she will remember the way he spoke highly of his loved ones, his family, fiancé, especially his brothers. And he would share with her pictures of his adventures with his fiancé.
“He talked about Jessica all the time because they liked to go on trips. We’re friends on Facebook and he was always posting pictures of them being funny and laughing,” added Norsworthy. ” He always talked about his little brother, that was disabled, and how he loved helping him and helping him succeed in life.”
Norsworthy remembers the time she spoke to Brotherson about the death of Officer Barney, the first police officer killed in the line of duty this year.
“Officer Barney lived about 3 blocks from where we lived at the time and I discussed that with Cody because it affected me so much and I just told him, I said, ‘Cody if that ever happened to you, it would just be awful.’ He said, ‘I know, I know we’re always safe and nothing will happen.”
The last time she spoke to Brotherson, she says he said to her, “please keep in touch.”
This evening a tiny memorial of flowers marked the spot where Officer Brotherson lost his life. Many showing up to pay their respects, Hayle McGuire and her daughter were a few who came by.
“She brought him a tiger and a little candle as well,” said McGuire.
Her encounter with Officer Brotherson was short but he left a meaningful and lasting impression on her life after he helped her through a tough time.
“It was a bad situation with my ex-husband and I and he was able to come and keep us calm, keep me and my daughter calm,. He made sure that we were alright. He had a little toy in his car and he gave it to my daughter. We still have it at home and she still uses it all the time. It’s her favorite toy,” she said. “I’m so thankful that he was a police officer and was able to help us when he did.”
For many Officer Cody Brotherson will be remembered as someone who was soft-hearted and thought of others before himself. A family man whose personality and presence will be missed.
“This man gave his life,” said Chief Russo. “So we honor that and this community honors that.”
This afternoon, Governor Gary Herbert expressed his condolences to Officer Brotherson’s loved ones and ordered that all flags be flown at half-staff on the day of his funeral.