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Officer dies after being hit by car during burglary call in South Salt Lake

Posted at 3:54 AM, Nov 25, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-26 09:56:07-05

SOUTH SALT LAKE, Utah -- A South Salt Lake Police officer died Saturday night after police said he was purposely hit by a car driven by suspects fleeing an apparent burglary.

South Salt Lake Police identified the officer as 31-year old Officer David Romrell. Officer Romrell was a Marine Corps veteran, husband and had recently become a father.

Unified Police later identified the suspect who was killed in the incident as 32-year-old Felix Anthony Calata of West Valley City.

South Salt Lake Police Chief Jack Carruth said Romrell died just before 10 p.m. Saturday evening due to injuries suffered from the incident.

According to Chief Carruth, two officers responded to reports of a burglary in a business complex at 3575 S. West Temple just after 5:30 p.m. The person who made the call was inside the business at the time they called, he indicated.

"When officers arrived, they made contact with two male suspects attempting to leave in a vehicle," Chief Carruth explained. "Officers pulled into the complex, and exited their vehicles giving their commands to both suspects."

At that point, Chief Carruth said the driver of the vehicle, Calata, accelerated toward the officers, targeting and hitting Officer Romrell as the vehicle drove away onto West Temple.

Carruth said Officer Romrell was doing everything correctly at the time, according to what they learned from the investigation.

"Officers fired their weapons at that time, striking the vehicle and the driver of that vehicle," Chief Carruth continued.

Calata was later pronounced dead, and the other suspect fled from police but was taken into custody shortly after, police said.

Chief Carruth said Ofc. Romrell was taken to Intermountain Medical Center in Murray in critical condition, and immediately underwent emergency surgery. However, Chief Carruth said Romrell was unable to recover from his injuries.

He passed away just before 10 p.m.

"Officer David Romrell leaves behind a wife and a 4-month old newborn baby," Chief Carruth said. "Our focus last night and early this morning has been on David Romrell's family, and our South Salt Lake family who are grieving."

South Salt Lake Police hired Ofc. Romrell just under 11 months ago, Chief Carruth stated. He described Romrell as a "tactically sound" officer, humble, soft-spoken and kind.

Romrell was a Marine veteran who served several tours, Chief Carruth said, as he described Romrell's passion and dedication for service.

"He came from a long history of service being in the Marine Corps, left that-- serving his country-- to serve the community," Chief Carruth said. "He was very service driven."

This is the first line-of-duty death South Salt Lake Police has experienced, Chief Carruth indicated.

"This is a very difficult time for our agency, for Officer Romrell's family," he said. "We want to thank all the officers that responded tonight, fire personnel, and all the staff at IMC that worked hard to try to save Officer Romrell tonight."

Chief Carruth said an OICI protocol team is investigating the officer-involved shooting.

A GoFundMe for Romrell has been set up and can be found here.

This article will be updated as additional information becomes available. 

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