CRIME

1 officer, 1 deputy and suspected shooter injured in Uintah County shootout

Apr 28, 2024, 9:45 AM | Updated: Apr 29, 2024, 4:53 pm

VERNAL — A Vernal police officer was shot Saturday after arriving at a scene where a man opened fire on officers. The Department of Public Safety identified the officer Monday as Sgt. Chad Watt, a 25-year veteran with Vernal police.

The Vernal City Police Department said in a press release that officers were called to 750 North near 400 East at approximately 11:20 p.m. because a community member told them an “intoxicated” man was threatening his neighbor with a gun. DPS later identified the man as 27-year-old Rookus R. Curry.

When officers arrived, Curry opened fire toward police cars, and Watt was struck multiple times while attempting to exit his car, police said. Officers and deputies returned fire.

Police said another sheriff deputy was injured minorly and was treated at a local hospital and released.

Curry was also hit and initially, he fled, according to police. Officers were able to find and detain him after a short foot pursuit, and he was taken to a local hospital. He was later flown to a Wasatch Front hospital.

VCPD said Watt drove himself to a local hospital. He was also later flown to a Wasatch Front hospital for surgery. Police made no further comment on Curry’s condition, but said Monday that Watt was listed as “serious to critical condition,” but was stable.

The Utah State Bureau of Investigation will investigate the shooting, VCPD said.

On Sunday, KSL TV spoke with the Utah Fraternal Order of Police about the shooting. They said they met with Watt at the hospital to make sure he and his family had everything they needed.

“This is something that happened in rural Utah,” said Kevin Murray, president of the Utah Fraternal Order of Police. “It can happen anywhere. It is a danger and it doesn’t matter if you work for a two-man department or if you work for a 600-man department. The risk is the same and it’s a family and we take care of those that strap on the badge with us.”

Curry was charged afterward with attempted murder.

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1 officer, 1 deputy and suspected shooter injured in Uintah County shootout