Police in the Utah city of Provo are mourning the loss of one of their own after he was murdered by a middle-aged vagrant who was known for threatening police.
Joseph Shinners was shot in the line of duty on Saturday, a mere 29 years of age at the time of his death.
A Boston-area native who moved to Utah and had joined PPD three years ago, Shinners was a field training officer, SWAT member, and bicycle patrol officer.
On a cold and wet Saturday night, Officer Shinners was shot outside of a Bed Bath and Beyond after making contact with a fugitive, described as a 40-year-old drifter who was known to have made violent threats against police. While both men were shot in the encounter, only the fugitive survived and is under armed supervision at the hospital.
The following day, Provo Police Chief Rich Ferguson spoke of the tragedy, and expressed his admiration for Shinners.
“He exemplified the nobility of policing,” Ferguson said. “He was the very best of the Provo Police Department.”
Shinners came from a family of public servants- his brother currently serves as a police officer in Massachusetts and his father is a retired firefighter.
“He understands sacrifice,” Ferguson said of Shinners in the present-tense. “He is the officer who you would want to show up at your door in your biggest crucible moment.”
According to KSL, the Orem Police Department will be handling the criminal investigation and a parallel investigation will be conducted by the Utah County Officer Involved Protocol Team.
Shinners leaves behind a wife and infant son. Several crowdfunding campaigns have been set up to assist the family in their time of need.
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