Last week, violent events transpired in Utah, resulting in three officers shot and one killed, in less than 48 hours. Kane County sheriff’s deputy Brian Harris was fatally shot on Thursday, August 26. Harris’ death marked the fourth Utah police officer killed in the line of duty in 2010. Just this year alone, the same number of officers has been killed in Utah as in the preceding six years combined.
Scott Curley is accused of shooting sheriff’s deputy Harris on Thursday, near the Utah-Arizona border during a foot chase. He was identified and detained near Kanab, Utah early Monday, August 30. Arizona authorities say they will pursue extradition and prosecution on a warrant issued for first degree murder.
For Utah law enforcement officers, this year has been the third deadliest in history. Twenty three years ago, five officers died in the line of duty – two fatally shot, two in car crashes, and one in an accidental shooting. 1913 still ranks as deadliest year for Utah police officers with six officers dead, five dying in a single man hunt.
This year also marks two unfortunate firsts for Utah – first female officer to die in a gunfight and first Latino officer to die in the line of duty.
Millard County sheriff’s deputy Josie Greathouse Fox was shot and killed in January. Sevier County sheriff’s Sgt. Franco Aguilar was knocked off an icy bridge, falling hundreds of feet to his death in May. Police officer for U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs, Joshua Yazzie died in an automobile collision while responding to an accident.
According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund’s Mid-year Report, there has been a 43% increase in officer deaths from 2009, which had the fewest line-of-duty deaths in fifty years. Firearms-related fatalities made up nearly 36% of mid-year 2010 deaths.
Kane County sheriff’s deputy Brian Harris and the other three Utah law enforcement officers who died this year will be remembered for their dedication, sacrifice and service. The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund extends our deepest sympathies to the officers’ families, the Utah Police Force, and the people of Utah, who are all grieving the loss of four faithful officers devoted to protecting their community.
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