WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah — A Utah police officer was hit by a vehicle and killed early Sunday morning while trying to apprehend three people suspected of stealing a car, police said.
The three suspects are in custody, according to police in the Salt Lake City suburb of West Valley City.
The slain officer has been identified as 25-year-old Cody Brotherson, Police Chief Lee Russo said in a statement.
“Our hearts are heavy with his loss,” the department tweeted.
Brotherson’s mother spoke about her son and the sacrifice he made while surrounded by her family outside their home Sunday evening.
Jenny Brotherson said her son, “wanted to be a police officer his entire life. That dream was realized three years ago, but was cut short this morning.”
Jenny said Cody was the family jokester and protector and was the best family anyone could ask for. She asked people who encounter police officers to “give them the support and the respect that they deserve.”
The fallen officer’s mother said they are still planning funeral arrangements, and those will be announced to the public once they are made.
“We are so proud of what he did with his life,” Brotherson said.
Sen. Orrin Hatch tweeted that “Utah lost a hero today.”
Brotherson has been with the West Valley police force since December 2013, the statement said. He grew up in West Valley City and leaves behind a fiancee, two brothers and his parents, the statement said.
According to the statement, officers witnessed three people heading to an apartment complex and stealing a car from the parking lot. The suspects fled and police pursued the car.
Brotherson was outside of his vehicle attempting to deploy tire spikes when he was hit by the suspects in the vehicle, the statement said.
This is the first death in the line of duty for the West Valley Police Department since the department was formed in 1980, according to the statement.