SPANISH FORK (AP) – A man with a rifle shot and killed a deputy along a highway Thursday and wounded another deputy during a chase that stretched over 50 miles before he was caught, Utah County Sheriff Jim Tracy said.
“Evil ran through Utah County today,” Tracy said in a televised news conference late Thursday in Spanish Fork, about 50 miles south of Salt Lake City.
Tracy declined to identify the suspect but said he had a significant criminal history. He said the man was arrested in neighboring Juab County after crashing a car and trading fire with other officers.
The suspect was critically wounded in the gunfight. His condition was unknown.
The officer who was killed, Utah County sheriff’s Sgt. Cory Wride, “never had a chance to get out of his car,” Tracy said.
Wride had pulled up to a car that appeared disabled near Eagle Mountain when he was ambushed around 1 p.m. Thursday, the sheriff said.
Eagle Mountain is a town about 35 miles south of Salt Lake City.
The gunman shot and injured a second Utah County deputy near Santaquin, more than 30 miles into the chase, Tracy said. That deputy, who wasn’t identified, was expected to recover from a head wound, the sheriff said.
The gunman took off again, driving south on Interstate 15, but he crashed his car and hijacked another at gunpoint, Tracy said.
The man shot at other motorists who unwittingly stopped to help him, but he didn’t hit any of them, the sheriff said.
The suspect was captured about 20 miles later after a gunfight with Juab County deputies at the end of the chase near Nephi.
Nephi is a town about 75 miles south of Salt Lake City.
Wride was a 19-year veteran of the Utah County Sheriff’s Office and leaves behind a wife and five children, Tracy said.
Authorities were searching the suspect’s house in Salt Lake County with a warrant, and a prosecutor told The Associated Press he will face multiple felony charges.
Acting Utah County Attorney Tim Taylor said he was certain to file one charge of aggravated murder, with the possibility of the death penalty, and one or more counts of attempted aggravated murder for shooting at other officers.
He also likely faces a charge of aggravated robbery for the carjacking and another charge for evading police, Taylor said.
Taylor declined to identify the suspect and said he hadn’t learned the extent of his criminal history. He said the man may have been prohibited from possessing a gun and could also face a firearms charge.