Fort St. residents pay tribute to fallen officer

Posted at 8:04 PM, Sep 02, 2013
and last updated 2013-09-03 00:04:54-04

DRAPER -- Residents of the area where Draper Police Sgt. Derek Johnson was fatally shot have been paying tribute to the fallen officer.

Police said Johnson was ambushed and shot while seated in his car Sunday morning. (Full story here.) Johnson attempted to flee the scene and drove north, colliding with a tree in front of the home of Dan and Stephanie Smith, who woke to the sound of an alarm on Johnson's patrol car.

"[The car] just sat here and the lights were on and there was an alarm of some sort going off in the car," Dan said. "As the day went on, it went from being loud to more faint, more faint, more faint and then finally it went out as the battery died. It was eerie."

A few hours after the shooting incident, the Smiths learned what happened to Sgt. Johnson. Although a memorial was established at Draper City Hall and a candlelight vigil was held there Sunday night, Stephanie Smith still felt the need to do more.

"Because people weren't allowed to come down here, I just felt like, if that was my husband and I wasn't able to go down there, I would want somebody to do something for me," Stephanie said. "We lit candles and we had a little vigil here and it was just heartbreaking."

An officer approached the Smiths' house with a bouquet of flowers, a set of toy handcuffs and a special request from a young boy.

"[The officer] had this smile on his face and he said 'Would you mind if we put this on your fence? A little boy gave it to me up there and asked me if I could put it where Sergeant Johnson passed away.'," Stephanie said. "So I said 'Of course you can put it on the fence.'"

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