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N. Utah Town’s Police Chief Shot

July 7, 2001

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) _ The police chief of a northeastern Utah town was shot and killed while trying to arrest a suspect in a domestic dispute, police said Saturday.

Roosevelt Police Chief Cecil Gurr and other officers had responded to a report of a man beating a woman in a convenience store parking lot Friday evening, authorities said.

As the officers surrounded the couple’s pickup truck, the man stepped out with a rifle and opened fire, shooting Gurr, police said in a statement.

Police returned fire as the man got back into the truck and forced the woman to drive away.

``I turned and looked to see what was going on and the cops were just unloading on this truck,″ witness Joshua Stuart told KSL radio.

Officers stopped the pickup about five blocks away.

After struggling with police, Lee Roy Wood, 35, of Vernal, was arrested on state and federal parole violations. The Uintah County Attorney’s Office was reviewing possible charges against Wood for Gurr’s death, said Chief Deputy County Attorney Ken Wallentine. No decision is expected before midweek.

Officials did not release details of Wood’s criminal record.

Wood was not injured in the shootout, said Sgt. Steve Hatzidakis. The woman with him also was not injured in the shooting but may have been hurt during the alleged domestic dispute. The relationship between the two was not yet clear Saturday.

Gurr, 50, had been police chief since the mid-1970s and was one of the longest-serving police chiefs in Utah, Hatzidakis said.

Gurr’s father said his son cared about helping people around him.

``He wanted to help everybody. Anybody who knows him would say the same thing,″ said Beryl Gurr. ``Everyone respected him and he respected everyone.″

Roosevelt, a city of 4,000, is about 100 miles east of Salt Lake City.

Gurr was the second Utah police chief to die in a week. Sam Dawson, chief of the Sandy Police Department, was killed Monday in a motorcycle accident.

Update hourly