Autopsy: Man in Ogden SWAT standoff killed himself

Published November 14, 2012 12:05 pm

Farewell text • Before fatal gunshot, he messaged a friend good-bye.
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Preliminary results of an autopsy have determined that an Ogden man involved in a shootout with police officers responding to a domestic disturbance died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

A statement released Wednesday by Weber County Attorney Dee Smith notes that the State Medical Examiner's Office found that while Aaron Matthew Collier had been shot in the leg during an exchange of gunfire with police, Collier's death was due to a bullet he himself fired into his brain during a subsequent standoff early Sunday.

Police were called to the home in the 100 block of 4th Street at about 2:30 a.m. Sunday and invited inside by a woman who made the 911 call. While they were talking with her, a "handgun appeared from around a door and began firing at them," investigators found.

The officers, who had not previously drawn weapons, were targeted by seven shots. The officers, who were not struck by any of the rounds, returned fire and retreated from the residence.

One of the police bullets struck Collier in the leg, but it was "not life-threatening and did not cause his death," the autopsy concluded.

Smith's office determined that after the exchange of gunfire, "Collier barricaded himself inside the residence and refused to come out. He communicated by text message with at least one friend while he was [inside]. Officers eventually made entry … and Mr. Collier was found inside deceased."

Authorities did not detail the nature of those text messages, but the Standard-Examiner reported Thursday that they were to a friend of Collier's, Desi Martinez. Martinez told the paper he had been inside the home before police evacuated him and others during the standoff.

The texts included a farewell message to Martinez, who had also been in the home hiding from the gunfire, before officers escorted him outside. Replying on his phone from the back of a police cruiser, Martinez said he told Collier to hang on — but without success.

The officers involved remained on paid administrative leave pending completion of the investigation.

Utah court records show Collier, 35, had appeared before judges numerous times going back to 1995 on a variety of minor alcohol- and traffic-related offenses. In 1998 he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor cohabitant abuse, and was again accused of domestic violence in a 2009 petition for a protective order.

remims@sltrib.com