Ogden officer injured in shootout takes turn for worse
One of the two Ogden police officers still hospitalized after being wounded in a deadly Jan. 4 drug raid firefight took a turn for the worse Thursday.
Meanwhile, Weber County authorities released more information about the deadly shootout in an exclusive interview with KUTV Channel 2.
McKay-Dee Hospital spokesman Chris Dallin confirmed that 29-year-old Michael Rounkles, a five-year veteran of the department, had slipped from fair to serious condition.
Dallin did not release further details or explanations for the decline in Rounkles' status, noting patient privacy and family considerations. "The hospital can only release status and cannot comment further," he said. Attempts to reach family members Thursday were not successful.
However, Rounkles' uncle, Larry Rounkles, was reported last week as saying his nephew had been shot in the face and stomach and still had a bullet lodged near his spine following surgery.
In the interview with KUTV on Thursday, Weber County Attorney Dee Smith said five of the officers were struck by gunfire when they entered the Ogden home of 37-year-old Matthew David Stewart. Rounkles was struck by gunfire as he tried to aid the fallen officers, Smith said.
While he wouldn't say what type of gun was used to shoot the officers, Smith told KUTV that Stewart had legally purchased the weapon. That exclusive interview and another with Roy's police chief are scheduled to air 11 a.m. Saturday on KUTV, local Channel 2, the station announced.
The other Ogden police officer still hospitalized, Kasey Burrell, 33, remained in fair condition Thursday. Three other officers wounded in the Weber-Morgan Narcotics Strike Force raid have been treated and released.
On Wednesday, thousands of mourners including representatives of law enforcement agencies from throughout the country attended funeral services for Ogden police Officer Jared Francom, who was fatally wounded during the raid.
The 30-year-old father of two was eulogized for his sense of humor, outgoing personality and dedication to his young family.
In addition to 4,000 mourners who attended Mormon rites in Weber State University's Dee Events Center, thousands more lined the four-mile route of the funeral procession to the Ogden City Cemetery.
Francom and the other officers were shot while attempting to serve a "knock and announce" search warrant on Stewart's home.. Police say the Army veteran responded by opening fire on them.
Stewart remained under guard at an unspecified medical facility on Thursday, continuing treatment for non-life threatening injuries that police continued to refuse to detail.
Smith has declined to release more details of what happened before and during the shootout but said he plans to charge Stewart with aggravated murder, which carries the possibility of the death penalty. Smith also anticipates filing eight counts of attempted murder, as well as a cultivation of marijuana charge.
The suspect's father, Michael Stewart, has questioned police tactics and claims officers "botched" the initial investigation into his son's marijuana-growing activities. He says his son suffers from depression and anxiety and grew marijuana to self-medicate.
Cash for Cops
A demolition derby will be held Saturday to benefit the victims and families of the Weber-Morgan Narcotics Strike Force members involved in a Jan. 4 shootout. One officer was killed and five others were wounded.
The event will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 14, at the Golden Spike Outdoor Event Center, 1000 N. 1200 West, in Ogden.
The cost is $16 for adults and $8 for kids 12 and under. Tickets are available from all Smith's Tix outlets, the Golden Spike Arena and a number of Ogden area businesses.