Utah officer receives national award for service and sacrifice
One of the officers wounded in the shoot-out with Matthew David Stewart is receiving a national award for his service and sacrifice.
The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, a nonprofit that honors officers who go above and beyond, announced Friday that Weber County Sheriff's Sgt. Nate Hutchinson is their Officer of the Month. Hutchinson was shot four times when he and other members of the Weber-Morgan Narcotics Strike Force tried to execute a search warrant on Stewart's Ogden home.
Hutchinson was shot while trying to save fellow officers as Stewart allegedly opened fire on them on the night of Jan. 4, 2012. He's back to work now, though Hutchinson still suffers complications from his wounds, and does not yet have full use of his arms or shoulder.
"He's very worthy of [the award] and we're proud of him and the service to this office and [the community]," said sheriff's spokesman Lt. Mark Lowther.
A news release from the nonprofit tells of how Hutchinson grabbed an agent who had been shot in the face and took him outside Stewart's house to safety. Hearing more gunfire, he ran back into the house and was shot in the hip as he helped pull another wounded agent out, then went back in again to help the wounded Agent Jared Francom. Hutchinson was hit again, but still managed to help other officers get Francom out. Francom, however, later died from his injuries.
The officers, members of the Weber Morgan Strike Force, were serving a search warrant at Stewart's home when the gun battle erupted.
Weber County Sheriff Terry Thompson said Hutchinson "displayed courage, honor and bravery in the most dangerous of circumstances," according to a news release. Hutchinson has already received multiple awards from the sheriff's office, the release adds.
Stewart, 38, has been charged with aggravated murder, seven counts of attempted murder and one count related to alleged marijuana cultivation.
Stewart has pleaded not guilty to all the charges and has maintained that he thought he was being robbed and did not know the men in his home were law enforcement officers. His jury trial is scheduled to begin April 23, 2014.
Hutchinson and the other officers who receive the distinction in 2013 will be honored at an awards luncheon at the nation's capital in May 2014. In addition, their stories will be featured in the organization's annual calendar.
The nonprofit picked two policeman from Florida for the honor in February. They had pursued and ultimately killed an armed man suspected of robbing a bank. In January, the group selected a New Hampshire policeman who helped protect fellow officers from gunfire after the execution of a search warrant turned into a standoff with a man suspected of possessing steroids and other illegal drugs.