Tuesday, February 13, 2007



Earlier today, Ogden Police Chief Jon Greiner confirmed that an off-duty police officer from Ogden killed the 18-year-old gunman who shot up the Trolley Square mall last night in Salt Lake City.

Greiner says the officer was at the mall with his wife celebrating Valentine's Day two days early. He didn't release the officer's name.

Brave man, brave wife.

When I first heard this had happened, we weren’t too far away. I, for some reason, jumped to thinking it was some drug related killing in the mall parking lot. Too much TV maybe, or maybe it’s just more comfortable to think of such that way, particularly with the children with us.

But no, it was a random act of evil and the people killed had no idea their night out would end that way. Most of them were actually in a card shop, the day before Valentines.

It’s odd. On the same day so many more lives were cut tragically short and by surprise, in, say traffic accidents. But when one human does it to another, and with a “smile on his face,” it feels uniquely tragic, and the community feels it more traumatically, clearly. Not to diminish the pain of those who lost loved ones by accident; it just feels worse from the outside when another human wants it to happen.

It’s stuff like this that makes the world seem precariously balanced; it can make for a lot of pessimism. But men like this Ogden officer, who left his wife on their valentine dinner, purposefully stood in a gunman’s path, and put an end to it, make it seem it will all work out, nevertheless.


Beck said...

What a tragic event! I've been following it closely ever since yesterday evening's first news reports. I have a family member who is a police officer for the SLC Police. My thoughts were maybe he was involved, but come to find out, he had just arrived home from a pretty typical day.

It's crazy! I've been in that mall countless times. I've done work in that mall. I just can't believe it happened!

But as horrible as it is, there is an amazing TRUE hero out there who didn't have to do what he did, but did it anyway. We use the word "hero" too frequently to trigger praise to a sports or entertainment celebrity. Thanks for articulately pointing out who the real "hero" is in this case...

A very sad day for those of us along the Wasatch Front and as a nation.

Beck said...

By the way, we should mention the police officer's name: KEN HAMMOND!

Chris said...

I grew up a couple of miles from Trolley Square. I was at the Spaghetti Factory with my daughters just two weeks ago. My boyfriend waited tables there for four years. I didn't lose anyone close to me, but this one hit close to home and I found myself fighting back tears whenever I read a news report about this. So tragic.

Scot said...

I do agree Beck. I too hear “hero” used too often. Here, though, this man deserves the word (thanks for finding his name; they weren’t releasing it at the time).

But in the last article I read it said:

“But whatever you do, don't call Hammond a hero. He doesn't like it.”

Modest too. But too d*beep*mn bad :-); if he’s not a hero, I’ll have to stop using the word. He could have stayed with his wife, his pregnant wife (again, I think she deserves some praise too; I know I couldn’t leave to do such a thing without my spouse’s blessing). He could have justified staying and protecting the patrons in the restaurant. Instead he did something for which he should, to my thinking, certainly be held up as an example.

The tragedy of the lives lost wells up the eyes, but so do this man’s actions, for completely different reasons.

The first guy I dated worked there too (not the same guy, I’m SURE). We go there every Christmas with R’s family, and I used to roam that mall quite a bit as a kid, too. It’s odd reading the step-by-step account of something so grisly in such a familiar place.