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'Evil ran through Utah County,' sheriff says on officer shootings

Crime, Law and JusticeLaw EnforcementCrimeShootings

"Evil ran through Utah County" when a parolee shot and killed one deputy at a stop and injured a second in a gunfight during a high-speed chase that ended in another shootout with police who killed him, the county sheriff said Friday.

Sgt. Cory Wride was on patrol Thursday afternoon when he stopped to check on what appeared to be a disabled pickup truck with its emergency lights flashing, Utah County Sheriff Jim Tracy said.

During the encounter Jose Angel Garcia-Jauregui , 27, allegedly shot Wride in the neck and head, said Sgt. Spencer Cannon, spokesman for the Utah County Sheriff's Office.

Wride, 44, was alone on patrol at the time. His body was not discovered by officers until 2 p.m. By then, Garcia-Jauregui had fled in the truck to a neighboring county.

About 2:50 p.m., a deputy with Utah County Sheriff's Office spotted the pickup in Santaquin and pursued it.

During the chase, Garcia-Jauregui fired a handgun from the sliding-glass window of the truck, striking Deputy Greg Sherwood, 38, in the head.

He then sped to the Nephi area, where he carjacked a vehicle after forcing a woman and her small child out of their car at gunpoint, police officials said. He also fired shots but no one was hurt. The woman and her child were taken to the hospital for stress-related problems, but they are both in good health.

Garcia-Jauregui then sped off Interstate 15.  He attempted to carjack a second vehicle, but instead got into a gunfight with deputies of Juab County, who shot him, Tracy said. He died at 2:20 p.m. Friday at Utah Valley Hospital. The number of times he was shot is unclear.

“We may never know a motive,” Tracy said after announcing Garcia-Jauregui's death at a Friday afternoon news conference. 

Sherwood, who underwent surgery Thursday afternoon, appears to have a "good prognosis," Tracy said. He continues to recover in the hospital.

Tracy said Garcia-Jauregui served 4 1/2 years in prison for attempted homicide in 2007. He had also been convicted of assaulting a fellow prisoner.

He was released by the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole but a warrant for his arrest for "some kind of parole violation" had been issued just days before the incident, Cannon said.

"He was a fugitve from justice," Tracy said. 

Tracy speculated that Garcia-Jauregui might have become “increasingly nervous figuring he was probably going to be found out.… At some point he must have made a determination he was going to be caught and initiated fire.”

Garcia-Jauregui was with a 17-year-old female whose name was not released because she is a minor. Although she is in custody, Tracy said police have not established her relationship to Garcia-Jauregui.

Police described her as a “person of interest” and don't yet know if she fired any shots at officers or civilians. She is being cooperative, Tracy said.

It is also unclear who was driving. Tracy said police officials are going to digitally enhance video footage and investigate further.

Police served a search warrant on Thursday night at a residence in Draper belonging to the female who accompanied the suspect, Cannon said.

Tracy said he did not have any details on what was seized. The information taken from the scene is being processed.

Wride is survived by his wife, five children, eight grandchildren, four siblings and parents.

"Cory was taken from us in a senseless act of violence," Johnny Reville, Wride's brother-in-law, told reporters. "He was just one of those good guys."

Funeral arrangements have not been made for Wride yet but Reville said an account has been set up at giveforward.com for people to make contributions to the family.

Utah Atty. Gen. Sean D. Reyes released a statement Friday expressing his condolences for the police officers.

"Our office is shocked and deeply saddened by the senseless shootings of two members of our law enforcement family," he wrote. "These acts of violence against our devoted public servants are tremendously disturbing and remind all citizens of Utah the dangers faced and sacrifices made by peace officers and their families on a daily basis."

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saba.hamedy@latimes.com

Twitter: @saba_h

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