Spanish Fork • The suspect in the shooting death of one Utah County Sheriff’s officer and the wounding of another died Friday as law enforcement provided more detail on four shootings that stretched through two counties.
Jose Angel Garcia-Jauregui, 27, succumbed to his injuries at 2:20 p.m. Friday at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center. He was shot in Juab County on Thursday after police say he shot and killed Sgt. Cory Wride, 44, and wounded Deputy Greg Sherwood, 38.
Authorities declined to specify Garcia-Jauregui’s injuries or how many times Juab County deputies shot him. Garcia-Jauregui had served 4½ years in prison for an attempted-murder charge and he also had a felony charge for assault by a prisoner dismissed. The Utah Board of Pardons and Parole released him, though it had issued a warrant for his arrest just days before the slaying of Wride, said Utah County Sheriff Jim Tracy.
“We may never have a motive” for the shootings, Tracy said at a Friday afternoon news conference. “We do know he was a fugitive.”
Steve Gehrke, spokesman for the Utah Department of Corrections, said an arrest warrant had been issued for Garcia-Jauregui on Wednesday after he failed to check in with a parole officer, report a change in residence or maintain a job, as required under his parole conditions. A notation on Garcia-Jauregui’s parole order says he was “not to remain in or enter the United States illegally,” though Tracy said Garcia-Jauregui was a U.S. citizen.
According to court records, Garcia-Jauregui stabbed a man 21 times with a Phillips screwdriver after running him over with his car in Springville in 2008. After the stabbing, he assaulted another man with a tire iron or crowbar, causing a fracture to the man’s face.
Court documents indicate that he was friends with the two men and had just left a birthday barbecue for one of the men held in Provo. Garcia-Jauregui and the stabbing victim had been upset with each other throughout the day, after “making rhymes” at each other during a rap battle, according to court records.
Court records also show a charge of assault by a prisoner was dismissed as part of a plea deal. In that case, police say Garcia-Jauregui initiated a fight in January 2008 with another inmate while in the Utah County Jail’s intake unit. Garcia-Jauregui gave the inmate two black eyes and a bloody nose.
Jim Hatch, spokesman for the Board of Pardons, said sentencing guidelines called for Garcia-Jauregui, who had no other criminal history, to serve 32 months.
A 17-year-old girl was with Garcia-Jauregui during the shootings on Thursday, Tracy said. He would not release her identity because she is a juvenile, but she remained in custody Friday. Tracy described her as a “person of interest” until investigators can better determine what role she had in the shootings. Tracy said she has a lawyer and is cooperating.
No charges have been filed in Thursday’s shooting.
Wride, a 19-year veteran, was shot to death Thursday when he stopped his patrol car to check on a pulled-over pickup truck with flashers blinking on State Road 73 between Eagle Mountain and Cedar Fort. On Thursday, Tracy said Wride never exited his police car and appeared to have died in an ambush, but on Friday the sheriff corrected that information.
Tracy said Wride exited the car and spoke with Garcia-Jauregui. Then Wride returned to his car and searched for information about Garcia-Jauregui and the pickup he was driving on a computer linked to police databases. Tracy said it’s not known why Garcia-Jauregui was parked there.
Wride was at the scene for 20 minutes before someone slid open the truck’s rear window and fired a handgun — not a rifle as Tracy said Thursday — at Wride, killing him in his car.
Garcia-Jauregui, and apparently the girl, fled south. Sherwood encountered him as he reached Santaquin. Someone again fired a handgun out the rear window, Tracy said, striking Sherwood in the head.
Sherwood remained in critical condition Friday at Utah Valley Regional, Tracy said, but the deputy’s prognosis was good.
After the Santaqin shooting, Garcia-Jauregui drove south again on Interstate 15. By then, police knew what they were looking for and Juab County deputies followed him when Garcia-Jauregui reached that county, said Juab County Sheriff Alden Orme at the afternoon news conference.
Garcia-Jauregui took exit 222 in Nephi and wrecked the truck. Garcia-Jauregui fired the handgun at bystanders and carjacked a woman with a young child. Nephi Police Chief Mike Morgan, who also was at Friday afternoon’s news conference, said the mother and child went to a hospital for treatment of stress from the episode but are fine.
Garcia-Jauregui resumed driving south. A few miles later, Juab County deputies placed spike strips on the freeway.
Orme gave a vague description of the confrontation between four of his deputies and Garcia-Jauregui, but he made clear it was violent. Orme said the encounter stretched the width of the freeway as Garcia-Jauregui was shooting at deputies and at passing vehicles while trying to carjack other citizens. Garcia-Jauregui struck a semi with gunfire, Orme said. Deputies eventually wounded Garcia-Jauregui and arrested him.
“We’re just thankful there wasn’t citizens and additional deputies injured in Juab County,” Orme said.
Funeral plans for Wride were not announced Friday, though mourning continued. A motorcade of police cars from across Utah County escorted Wride’s body from the medical examiner’s office in Salt Lake City to Walker Mortuary in Spanish Fork.
All five of Wride’s children were there to see the procession.
Wride’s oldest son, 30-year-old Nathan Mohler, said the family saw sides of Wride that others did not. Wride seldom discussed police work, Mohler said, even with his family, nor did he exert authority with friends and family.
“He didn’t do the job for the power,” Mohler said. “He was in it to help people.”
“He was very careful about who he let in” to his life, Mohler added, “but if he did, he was the greatest guy you ever met.”
Mohler and brothers Chance Wride, 28, and Shea Wride, 24, were born during their mother’s first marriage. Mohler said he was 12 when he walked his mother down the aisle to marry Cory Wride.
Cory Wride later adopted Chance and Shea, but Mohler was already grown and married. Cory and Nanette Wride had two more children, a 17-year-old son named Tyesun and a 14-year-old daughter named Kylie.
Mohler has five children and one more on the way. Chance Wride has two children; Shea Wride has one child.
Mohler said he saw a change in Cory Wride when the grandchildren were born. He became softer, Mohler said, and let the grandchildren ride on the family tractor and sit in his police car as the lights flashed and sirens blared.
Cory Wride’s brother-in-law, Johnny Reville, said Wride could have stayed in an administrative job he had for about three years, but asked to return to patrolling. Eagle Mountain was part of his assigned territory.
“He could have probably stayed doing [administrative work] for the rest of his career, but he enjoyed being out on patrol, being out with people,” said Reville, who is on the city council in Lehi.
Nanette Wride works at Timpanogos Regional Hospital in Orem. The couple built a home on family property in Benjamin two years ago. The couple raised horses and had about 20 head of cattle.
Cory Wride was active in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and served a mission in New York City.
Gina Sherwood, Greg Sherwood’s wife, sent out a statement to the media.
“We want to thank everyone who has reached out in support of Greg and our family. Greg is breathing on his own and talking to us and the doctors. His surgery went very well, and we are told he may be able to leave the hospital in less than a week. Our son and I greatly appreciate the support of our family and friends, including everyone from our police family. Greg is very concerned about the Wride family and our thoughts and prayers are with them at this time.”
The family requested privacy as Greg Sherwood recuperates.
Officers honored at Legislature
Lawmakers honored slain Utah County Sheriff’s Sgt. Cory Wride and wounded Deputy Greg Sherwood Friday morning with a moment of silence in both the Utah House of Representatives and the Utah Senate. Also, the invocation by Midvalley Bible Church Pastor Douglas Hornok also prayed for both families.
Utah House Speaker Becky Lockhart praised Wride for taking time as a busy person to also be involved as a Republican delegate in her district before it was redrawn in 2011.
“He was a guy who had a wife and five kids and a full-time law enforcement officer, and thought enough to be involved in his community, too, in politics. That is a public servant of the highest level,” she said.
Also, Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox — a former House member — went to the House for the moment of silence. He tweeted, “Proud to join my friends in the House of Reps. for a moment of silence honoring fallen officer Cory Wride.”