Police officer wounded, gunman killed in Springville shootout

Mar 19, 2023, 10:56 AM | Updated: Mar 21, 2023, 5:41 pm

SPRINGVILLE, Utah — A police officer was shot during a gunfight in Springville early Sunday morning. The gunman was shot and killed when officers returned fire.

The gunman was identified by Springville Police Department as Mathew Scott Nielsen, a 46-year-old man from Springville.

“We don’t have a motive, we don’t know why,” said Lt. Warren Foster with the Springville Police Department.

The officer was shot in the leg and police said his injuries were not life-threatening.

“The shot actually missed all the critical, the bones that kind of thing,” Foster said. “His status is very good.”

The incident began with a call for a weapons offense at 1500 W. 150 North in Springville just before 5 a.m., according to a news release.

The caller said they heard what sounded like rapid gunfire. A second caller reported the same thing, about eight to 10 gunshots.

Foster said officers searched the area for about an hour to find the person responsible for the shots.  During that search, an officer found a car that had crashed into a jersey barrier near 1200 W. 1000 South.

“As the officer gets out of his vehicle, the driver or individual in the car, he just starts shooting at the officer,” Foster said.

He said a second officer arrived to help his partner. “Additional shots were exchanged between the two officers and the man. Deputies from the Utah County Sheriff’s Office and officers from the Spanish Fork and Mapleton police departments heard the call and responded to assist,” the release said.

That’s when the officer was wounded.

Nielsen fell. “As they saw the suspect go down, and they saw the threat stop for a moment, they all approached and secured the suspect and then immediately started rendering first aid,” Foster said.

The officers and Springville Fire/EMS arrived on the scene and also tried to help Nielsen.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

An ambulance took the wounded officer to the hospital. The other officer who was involved in the shooting was not injured.

The officers names have not been released.

The area was blocked off for hours Sunday while police collected evidence on the scene. The area where the shoot-out took place is near several pastures where livestock roam.

“We were coming to move the horses over to our pastures….we were coming to pick them up,” said Megan Lowe. “We came on the road to get here and it was closed off. We were unable to pick up the horses.”

She said not being able to have access to her animals was nerve-wracking.

“Especially when you hear there’s been gunfire or anything like that, when you worry about it any stray bullets went anywhere,” Lowe said.

She said her horse was pregnant, too, which added to their stress. Lowe said they relied on deputies on the scene to update them. Fortunately, no animals were harmed in the shooting.

“We got a new surprise when we got here and finally got through and finally have a baby horse,” Lowe said.

No names of the people involved in the shooting have been released. Officers said they are giving the gunman’s family time to notify each other.

Police said there is bodycam footage of this shootout, and that will be released on another day.

This article has been updated with details.

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Police officer wounded, gunman killed in Springville shootout