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Chief: slain officer represented the best of Provo

PROVO — Police on Sunday identified the officer shot and killed late Saturday night as 29-year old Joseph Shinners, a three-year veteran of the force.

During an emotional news conference at the Provo City offices, police spoke of Shinners, who leaves behind a wife and a one-year-old son.

“Joe Shinners is intelligent.  He was honorable.  He was hard-working,” said Provo Police Chief Rich Ferguson.  “He is decent in every single way and he exemplified the nobility of policing. He is the very best of the Provo Police Department,” Ferguson said.

Police on Sunday would not release the name of the suspect, a 40-year-old man, saying the day was about Shinners.  Orem Police are investigating the criminal case of the shooting.  Orem Police Chief Gary Giles said the Utah County Officer Involved Shooting Protocol Team would assist.

Giles said during the shooting, which happened as police were trying to arrest a fugitive, Shinners was able to return fire.  The suspect, he said, was in stable condition, and under guard at the hospital.

“Officer Shinners represents every one of us,” said Giles.  “He represents every one of us who enjoy freedom.  And today a little piece of that peace and freedom is eroded away.”

The shooting happened just before 10 p.m., near the Bed Bath and Beyond store at 50 W. University Parkway. A video captured the shooting and shows other officers placing the wounded officer into a police car and speeding away.

Tributes have been pouring in on social media from police departments around the state and the country.

“Our Hearts hurt,” read one post from the Payson police department.

“This is happening far too often. We stand with our Provo police family tonight and every night. Rest in peace officer. Your brothers and sisters have the watch from here,” the post said.

Ferguson said Shinners was from the Boston area. He said his father is a retired firefighter and that his brother is a police officer in Massachusetts.

“He is the officer who you would want to show up at your door in your biggest crucible moment,” said Ferguson.

Mayor Michelle Kafusi on Sunday offered support and love to Shinners’ family and to his fellow police officers.

“Today reminds us of the price you have always known your noble calling could someday mean,” Kafusi said.


The link to the GoFundMe page for the Shinners family can be found here.

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