29-year-old Fallen Provo Officer Was 3-Year Veteran with Department

Jan 6, 2019, 7:13 PM | Updated: 11:55 pm

PROVO, Utah – The Provo police officer who was shot and killed in the line of duty on Saturday evening has been identified as Joseph Shinners, 29, of Springville.

During a press conference Sunday morning, Provo Police Chief Rich Ferguson talked about Shinners.

He says he was a three-year veteran with the Provo Police Department and was assigned to the patrol division.

His primary focus was on the central business district. Shinners was also a member of the bicycle patrol as well as a field training officer, and he was a member of the Provo SWAT team.

Ferguson said Shinners leaves behind his wife, Kaylyn, and 1-year-old son.

In an emotional statement, the mayor of Provo, Michelle Kaufusi, spent time talking about Shinners’ wife.

“Mostly, I just want Kaylyn to know that right now the citizens of Provo stand with you. To all your family on both your side and Joe’s side I’m so terribly, terribly sorry.”

Ferguson was also visibly emotional during the press conference.

“As chief of police, I am furious. I’m heartbroken. I’m shocked.”

He went on to describe Shinners saying he was “intelligent, he was honorable, and he was hard-working. He was decent in every single way, and he exemplified the nobility of policing. He was the very best of the Provo Police Department.”

You can watch the press conference in full below.

Provo and Orem Police Departments were responding to a tip about the location of a dangerous fugitive, Ferguson said.

The 40-year-old suspect had a history of homelessness and had recently been making threats to police officers, Orem Police Department Chief Gary Giles said. But, he refused to answer more questions about the suspect at the time.

“I will not be releasing the name of the suspect today…it’s not about him today. This is about Officer Shinners and his family, as well as all of the police officers, paramedics, and dispatchers who are involved in this situation last night.”

The shooting happened in Orem near the Bed Bath and Beyond located at 50 W. University Parkway, Giles said.

“At 9:53 p.m. last night officers received information that a wanted fugitive who has been making threats of violence towards police officers in the recent past was parked near Bed Bath and Beyond. Both Provo and Orem officers were able to locate the suspect’s occupied vehicle and they were attempting to quickly and tactfully take him into custody.”

He went on to say, “While doing so, Officer Shinners with the Provo Police Department, was shot and at this time it appears that he was successfully able to return fire striking the suspect at least once.”

Shinners was taken to Utah Valley Hospital where he died from his injuries just before midnight Saturday.

The suspect was taken to the hospital where Giles said he is “under guard” and in stable condition. He went on to say that the suspect will most likely face multiple charges, including the possibility of aggravated murder of a police officer.

Kaufusi wanted people to use this as a reminder of the sacrifices our law enforcement make.

“To all citizens, I want to call on you to let this day awaken in us a new sense of gratitude and profound respect for the men and women in our communities who put on this uniform, and to the spouses, children, parents and other family of those brave souls.”

.@provocity Mayor Michelle Kaufusi asks citizens to show gratitude and respect to @ProvoPolice officers and their spouses @KSL5TV pic.twitter.com/DINiX8fSNN

— Sean Moody (@SeanMoodyKSL) January 6, 2019

Ferguson told a story about Shinners, saying a person he had taken into custody wanted a hug and he obliged.

“Last night, to give you an idea of the kind of officer Joe was, I heard a story about an arrest that he made where before he took a subject to jail the subject asked for a hug…when he asked if the subject needed anything. And, Officer Shinners gave him a hug. That was the kind of cop he was.”

Shinners is from the Boston area. His father is a retired firefighter, and his brother is a Massachusetts police officer.

“He comes from a family of service. He understands sacrifice…he is the officer who you would want to show up at your door in your biggest crucible moment,” Ferguson said.

Giles says his department will be handling the criminal investigation side of the shooting. In addition to the criminal investigation, a parallel investigation will be conducted by the Utah County Officer-Involved Critical Team.

During the press conference Ferguson announced that he had awarded Shinners a new title.

“At this time, as of right now, I am giving an emeritus status posthumously promotion to the rank of master officer in the Provo Police Department to Joe Shinners.”

Shinners’ patrol car was parked outside of the police station and people placed flowers to show their support.

A GoFundMe has been set-up for Shinners’ family.

This is a developing story and we will continue to post updates as we get them.

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29-year-old Fallen Provo Officer Was 3-Year Veteran with Department