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Man, woman hospitalized after being shot by Ute Tribe Fish and Wildlife officer

Posted at 2:53 PM, Jul 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-19 00:37:23-04

DUCHESNE COUNTY, Utah — A man and a woman were shot and wounded by an officer with the Ute Tribe Fish and Wildlife Department over the weekend in eastern Utah.

The Duchesne County Sheriff's Office said the officer shot the two individuals Sunday afternoon after a "UTV incident" on tribal land near Uinta Canyon. It was not stated whether the man and/or the woman fired shots, nor any other details about what led to the shooting.

The sheriff's office said the two people who were shot are "non-tribal," and the FBI confirmed that one was a man and one was a woman. They were flown to hospitals in Colorado, but their medical conditions are unknown at this time. Officials did not release their ages or where they are from.

The FBI and Bureau of Indian Affairs are investigating the incident, and the Duchesne County Sheriff's Office is assisting.

The FBI said the officer was not injured.

Paige Stewart told FOX 13 News that the woman shot was her cousin, Chelsea — a single mother of two kids.

She said Chelsea was on a first date with the man who was shot, and they were riding a UTV in an area of mixed land ownership — some of it county land, some part of Ashley National Forest, and some Ute Tribal land.

Stewart said her cousin and her date were not armed, and they were shot in the back.

"She didn’t realize she was shot for a little bit," Stewart said.

Chelsea told her she heard the officer fire six shots, with the first one going right past her head.

“I feel like we’re angry," Stewart said. "The whole family is angry that it's happened, you know? We wonder, 'What if that bullet went a little bit further and killed Chelsea?'"

Stewart said their family is confused as to how this happened — and so is her cousin.

“Neither of them were armed, they didn’t pose a threat, so Chelsea is also confused how something turned into this," Stewart said. “They weren’t out doing anything to harm anybody, they were out having fun, on the first date, so it’s scary that it happened, and it’s sad because Chelsea is a very kind, sweet person and she’d never do anything to deserve anything like this.”

She said both of them are in critical condition.