Injured officer says he's 'devastated' by Ogden shooting
Roy • To look at Jason VanderWarf, you wouldn't know a bullet hit him, much less that it hit him only a few days ago.
The bandage on his right hip isn't noticeable through his clothing, nor does he appear to have a limp. He greeted a reporter with a smile Friday night and flashed a smile again recalling his short stay in an Ogden hospital. VanderWarf, 37, was discharged Thursday morning after only a few hours under care.
"It hit and then we found the bullet at the hospital," VanderWarf said.
"It's just sore," he said of his hip.
Yet VanderWarf said he's "devastated" by what happened Wednesday night. VanderWarf was one of six police officers from the Weber-Morgan Narcotics Strike Force to be shot while serving a search warrant at a house in Ogden.
Police have said the suspect, Matthew David Stewart, 37, opened fire on the officers after they received no response to their knocks and entered the home.
Agent Jared Francom, 30, of the Ogden Police Department, was killed. Of the remaining five officers, VanderWarf is the only one to be released from the hospital.
In an interview Friday in Roy, VanderWarf declined to discuss the shooting, citing the ongoing investigation. He did say he remained conscious for the entire episode and was well aware of what had befallen his colleagues.
VanderWarf said he joined the Roy Police Department in 2007. He worked as a school resource officer before volunteering for the strike force about six months ago.
"It's just a different aspect of law enforcement," VanderWarf explained, adding that he believes police officers are in the business of getting to know a wide variety of people, including those who use and trade narcotics.
As one of the veterans on the task force, Francom helped train VanderWarf.
VanderWarf said he will remember Francom as someone who "loved his job, loved his family."
On Thursday afternoon, VanderWarf participated in a three-hour debriefing and counseling session with other police officers who served the warrant or responded to the shooting and said he plans to see counselors again.
Then Thursday night, VanderWarf attended the candlelight ceremony for Francom and the other shooting victims. VanderWarf was among about 100 officers who took the stage at the Ogden Amphitheater and received applause and shouts of thanks from the crowd of about 300.
Standing on the stage, VanderWarf said he thought about Francom's family but also felt "a sense of pride to be part of such a big family."
VanderWarf said his hip requires no more treatment. He said he wants to return to duty, though he doesn't know when.
"There's still a job to be done, and the best thing we can do is honor Francom and his family by doing our job," VanderWarf said.