Authorities in Utah say a South Salt Lake police officer is dead after a car struck him in what is being described as a deliberate attack.
According to Fox News, 31-year-old David Romwell was one of two officers dispatched to a burglary report at a local business Saturday evening.
When the officers exited their patrol car to confront a vehicle they believed was occupied by suspects in the crime, the driver allegedly barreled toward Romwell.
Police believe both officers then fired their guns at the approaching vehicle in an attempt to stop it.
The car’s driver was reportedly shot and killed. His body was found in the driver’s seat after the car had traveled some distance from the scene of the collision, according to police spokesman Gary Keller.
A suspect believed to have been a passenger in the vehicle was later located and arrested.
Romrell was transported to an area hospital where he was later pronounced dead, according to South Salt Lake Police Chief Jack Carruth.
The deceased officer is described as a veteran of the Marine Corps and a married father of a 4-month-old baby. He had been with the agency for about a year and was its first officer to die in the line of duty.
Carruth said the department was not prepared for the shocking news.
“It’s taken us all by surprise,” he said. “It’s been very, very painful.”
Gov. Gary Herbert issued a statement expressing grief on behalf of his family and the state. U.S. and Utah state flags will reportedly be lowered on the day of Romrell’s funeral.
“He was exemplary in every way, and I feel humbled by the service he gave his country as a Marine, as well as the service he gave our communities here in Utah,” Herbert wrote.
[Featured image: David Romrell, South Salt Lake Police Department]