Suspect Faces 7 Counts In Officer Joseph Shinners Murder Case

Jan 23, 2019, 7:59 AM | Updated: 9:12 pm

OREM, Utah – Charges have been filed against the suspect who investigators said pulled the trigger and killed Master Officer Joseph Shinners with the Provo Police Department.

Utah County Attorney David Leavitt said his office would pursue aggravated murder charges against 40-year-old Matthew Frank Hoover in the death of Shinners in the line of duty on January 5.

The charges were announced in an 11 a.m. press conference Wednesday morning.

Hoover has been charged with one count of aggravated murder, which carries a potential penalty of life in prison without possibility of parole or death.

“The question of the death penalty is premature at this time, and something we will discuss at a later date,” Leavitt said.

Prosecutors have 60 days to decide whether or not to pursue capital punishment.

RELATED: Remembering Fallen Provo Master Officer Joseph Shinners

Hoover was also charged with assault against a police officer – charged in relation to the other officer who was with Shinners – possession of a stolen firearm, receiving a stolen firearm, felony failure to respond to an officer’s signal to stop, felony possession of methamphetamines, and felony possession of heroin.

Three prosecutors have been assigned to the case.

Matt Frank Hoover. Photo: Utah County Sheriff's Office

Matt Frank Hoover. Photo: Utah County Sheriff’s Office

In honor of Shinners, the Utah County Attorney’s Office has reformatted the way in which they refer to officer-involved cases. No longer do they plan to call them by the name of the defendant, but the name of the officer.

“We have concluded that this case from here on out will be referred to in the Utah County Attorney’s office as the ‘Officer Joseph Shinners Murder Case,’” said Leavitt.

The numbering system for cases of this nature has also been changed. They will no longer be given the designation of a normal case number, but will be referred to as FO – for “Fallen Officer” – and then the badge number of the officer.

Leavitt said this case has been given the case number “F03310,” for Officer Shinners’ badge number, 3310.

“It’s a small gesture, but it’s a gesture, nonetheless, that is important to us,” said Leavitt.

Hoover was released from the hospital on Friday and immediately booked into the Utah County Jail on warrants unrelated to the shooting.

It was because of those warrants that officers across Utah County had been looking for Hoover.

Orem police Chief Gary Giles said there was information from several sources reporting that Hoover had said he would rather go down fighting with police in a shootout, rather than being sent back to prison.

There was concern that an officer could come unsuspectedly come across Hoover during a traffic stop or other situation, putting the officer in harm’s way.

Chief Giles said Orem and Provo officers received information on the evening of January 5 that Hoover was in a vehicle in the Orem area.

He said they learned Hoover had been using methamphetamines, and knew of a vehicle pursuit several months ago that ended when officers believe it became too dangerous.

Officers were able to locate Hoover and an unidentified female in a “mostly empty” parking lot outside Bed, Bath & Beyond on University Parkway.

“They attempted to block his vehicle in and contain him, and take him into custody,” Chief Giles said. “When officers approached, he refused to open the door.”

Officers were able to open the passenger door, and Orem officer attempted to get control of the vehicle and Hoover.

“He was able to put the car into reverse, smashing one of our patrol cars, and then put it in drive, which actually smashed into a portion of the Bed, Bath & Beyond building,” Chief Giles said.

The vehicle came to a stop after driving up onto a curb.

Giles said Hoover then brandished a handgun and fired one shot, hitting Officer Shinners, who returned one shot.

“(Officer Shinners) was wearing his ballistic vest. Unfortunately the shot hit him in an area where he was uncovered by that vest,” Chief Giles said.

The gun Hoover used was later discovered to be a stolen weapon.

Hoover and Shinners were both transported to the hospital, where they were treated in adjoining rooms.

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Suspect Faces 7 Counts In Officer Joseph Shinners Murder Case