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Utah gunman sentenced to up to life in prison for shooting at police car

Published June 17, 2013 10:18 am

Courts • Zane Openshaw said he hoped to died in a suicide by cop when he fired on the Sunset officer.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A judge on Monday ordered a 23-year-old Davis County man to serve five years to life in prison for riddling a police car with bullets last winter.

Zane Todd Openshaw, of Farmington, did not hit Sunset police Officer Jared Jensen when he fired eight shots towards the his car. But Jensen asked 2nd District Judge Michael Allphin Monday to give Openshaw a firm sentence, calling the act of violence a hate crime against law enforcement.

"I don't want the court to confuse my luck with the defendant's intent," said Jensen, adding that he didn't realize how close the bullets had come to hitting him when Openshaw opened fire on his car on Dec. 13.

Openshaw was originally charged with attempted aggravated murder, a first-degree felony, but he accepted a plea deal and pleaded guilty to attempted murder, also a first-degree felony.

During the sentencing, Openshaw read a poem that described how he took a handful of prescription pills on the day of the crime and intended to shoot himself. Instead, he shot at a police car, hoping the cop would shoot back.

"Whatever the sentence is y'all want to give me, I'll take it," Openshaw told Allphin. "I put an innocent person in a dangerous situation."

Jensen is the son of Logan Police Chief Gary Jensen, who briefly spoke in court Monday, echoing his son's sentiments that Openshaw be sentenced to prison.

"Those bullets were intentional," the father told Allphin.

Allphin also ordered Openshaw to pay more than $3,000 in restitution to repair Jensen's patrol vehicle. Before handing down the sentence, Allphin told the defendant he didn't understand Openshaw's "suicide by cop" plan if he was aiming to kill the officer.

"It's not acceptable and society needs to be protected," the judge said.

According to a probable cause statement filed in court, Jensen was patrolling the area of 900 W. 2400 North on Dec. 13 when the officer made eye contact with a man walking down the street.

The man, later identified as Openshaw, lifted his shirt and pulled out a gun. Openshaw then shot "several rounds" into the police car, striking the driver side door and window, according to court documents.

Jensen was uninjured in the shooting. Several other officers responded, and Openshaw was found eventually in a nearby shed.

Openshaw has one prior conviction, according to Utah court records. In November 2010, he was charged with third-degree felony arson related to a car fire set at Wheeler Farm in Murray. In December 2010, Openshaw pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of class A misdemeanor attempted arson, for which he was sentenced to six months in jail.

jmiller@sltrib.com

Twitter: @jm_miller