Police officer injured in Saturday shooting, returned home from hospital today

May 9, 2024, 2:25 PM | Updated: 10:29 pm

VERNAL — A police officer who was shot in the line of duty on Saturday, April 28, returned home from the hospital Thursday.

Sgt. Chad Watt was escorted on Highway 40 from the Pepsi plant to the Taco Bell, at 6:45 p.m. this evening.

“As Chad prepares to return home, we want to extend an invitation to each and every one of you to join us in celebrating this momentous occasion,” Roxanne Behunin, the HR manager for Vernal City said. “We believe it would be incredibly meaningful to line the route along the highway with flags on both sides of the Street by Walmart, showing our solidarity and support as he makes his way back to familiar surroundings. The City will provide the flags for those employees that want to participate.”

Watt, a 25-year veteran with police, was shot multiple times on the evening of April 28, while responding to a report of an “intoxicated man” threatening a neighbor with a gun. Upon arrival, the man opened fire as Watt was exiting his vehicle.

Suspect in Vernal police shooting has extensive criminal history

Watt returned from the hospital as people lined Highway 40 to welcome him back home.

Several Patriot Guard Riders led the procession through town with American flags flying from their motorcycles.

Vernal resident Andrea Nielsen said nothing was going to stop her from being there with her kids.

“To show support for the brave men and women that are protecting us day in and day out,” Nielsen said. “There are people out there who protect you, and you need to show your support for them too.”

Firefighters hung a large US flag from their ladder trucks and flew it over the highway.

“We joke and laugh a lot, but it’s one of those things that when it comes down to it, everybody has got each other’s backs here,” Chief Sam Howard of the Vernal Fire Department said.

Chief Gledhill said he is happy his officer is back home, but his thoughts and prayers and his department’s thoughts and prayers are with the Santaquin Police Department.

He knows their outcome is much different after Sgt. Bill Hooser was killed earlier this week, and hopes Santaquin can start to heal soon the way Vernal is now. Gledhill said he appreciates the community support in both towns.

“That’s what we do, is when a tragedy happens, our community rallies around it’s members and it’s just fantastic to live in a place like this,” Gledhill said.

This is something Nielsen hopes her kids take to heart after being a part of it all.

Behunin said to support Watt and his family during this time, those interested can donate directly to the family Venmo account, @Watt-1999 or you can make donations in-person at the Vernal Police Department. Checks should be written to “Vernal Police Officers Association.”

“While medical costs will be covered by city insurance, your generosity will help alleviate the financial burdens the Watt family will face as Sergeant Watt focuses on healing,” a post from police said.

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Police officer injured in Saturday shooting, returned home from hospital today