Utah police chief: Slain officer 'sacrificed his life'

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Associated Press

OREM, Utah — A Provo police officer fatally shot during an encounter with a wanted man had "selflessly sacrificed his life to protect the lives of his fellow officers," the city's police chief said Saturday during the officer's funeral.

Police have released few specifics of what happened the night of Jan. 5 when Master Officer Joseph Shinners was killed. But Police Chief Richard Ferguson told law enforcement officers, family members and others attending the service for Shinners that Shinners saw another officer in danger and took action.

"In the course of trying to take the individual into custody, Officer Shinners saw one of his fellow officers in peril," Ferguson said. "Without reservation," he "placed himself in a position of danger in an attempt to aid another officer."

Addressing himself to Shinners, Ferguson said he was proud of the officer and that his actions to fight the suspect and shoot him "ended the threat to the other officers."

The 29-year-old Shinners is survived by his wife and their 1-year-old son. His service was held at Utah Valley University's event center in Orem.

Hundreds of officers stood at attention and saluted Shinners' flag-draped casket as it was led by bagpipes into the university arena, and flags and signs lined the streets of Utah County before the service.

During the service, brother-in-law Kyle Swanson said Shinners loved taking care of others, never hesitated to help those around him and "served his family, his friends and his community."

Shinners' widow, Kaylyn, said her husband at home was a man who loved clean sheets, feared nothing except snakes, came home late because he was talking to someone and ended arguments with her by spouting nonsensical phrases.

"He is my companion and partner for eternity, and I look forward to being reunited with him," she said.

Shinners was a three-year member of the Provo police force when fatally shot in a shopping center parking lot Orem, which is next door to Provo.

Police have accused 40-year-old Matt Frank Hoover, who was wanted on two drug-related felony warrants and had reportedly threatened law enforcement, of shooting Shinners.

According to police, Shinners managed to return fire after he was shot and struck the suspect at least once.

Hoover was arrested on suspicion of aggravated murder and drug and weapons crimes and was hospitalized with a gunshot wound not immediately charged. Court records don't list an attorney for Hoover who could comment on the allegation.

Police said Hoover had a lengthy criminal record. Records show Hoover has pleaded guilty to several drug-related crimes, theft and forgery dating back to 1995.

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