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Riverton, Herriman residents hold luncheon to honor law enforcement officers

Mar 08, 2018 03:36PM ● Published by Jennifer Gardiner

Barbecue buffet luncheon present by residents to honor officers. (Herriman City)

It’s not every day an entire city wants to thank police officers. But Riverton and Herriman residents wanted to do something in their honor for their hard work in capturing a dangerous felon. 

City residents Nicki Pinarelli Bullard and Angela Mazza decided to put together a community thank-you luncheon, held Jan. 30. It was organized by members of the community and Herriman City officials to thank the Unified Police Department and all related agencies that worked on an active shooter incident that gripped the city with concern in Herriman.

“It was just to say thank you for all officers did,” Bullard said. “They protected us so much the week that Llewelyn was on the run. They do so much for us and don’t get thanked enough. It was such an amazing feeling knowing he was out there as I dropped my kids off at school. Police presence was incredible and made me feel OK about me not being with them. We would love to make this a yearly thing.”

Unified Police Herriman Precinct Police Chief Troy Carr said they always feel appreciated by the city and its residents. 

“This luncheon was also a way for everyone to come together and help each other,” Carr said. “The events that day unfolded very quickly and it was scary, so many of the residents felt it could have been them that was shot.”

Carr added the community needed to heal and had a chance to better empathize with each other. 

The event was attended by Unified Police Department’s Herriman Precinct, Unified Police Department’s Riverton Precinct, Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Department (including Sheriff Rosie Rivera), Herriman City Officials, SWAT and Unified Fire Authority.

For nearly a week, officers and residents were on edge as the hunt for 33-year-old Justin Gary Llewelyn continued. Llewelyn had been on the run since Jan. 20 when he got into a shootout with a Unified Police officer, shot a homeowner in the chest and then stole the man’s vehicle.

The incident started when Unified Police Department officers were working with the U.S. Marshals Service as part of the Violent Fugitive Apprehension Strike Team. The task force had been developing a plan to arrest Llewelyn when he fled from the area in a stolen truck. 

Soon after, an officer encountered Llewelyn prowling cars, but Llewelyn fled on foot and ran into another officer at whom he fired his gun. The officer fired back, but Llewelyn got away. While in that foot pursuit, Llewelyn entered a home near 4950 West Duncan Meadow Lane in Herriman and shot the homeowner in the chest before stealing their car. The victim was transported to the hospital in critical condition but has since been released.

During the containment, K9 officers and Department of Public Safety helicopters were called to assist in tracking Llewelyn down. Reverse 911 calls were made to ask the residents who live in the area surrounding the shooting and pursuit to shelter in place. The search for the fugitive lasted for several hours, but unfortunately with the help of friends and relatives, two who live in Herriman, Llewelyn was able to flee the area. 

A reward for information leading to Llewelyn’s arrest was announced, and shortly after, a Unified Police officer located him at park in Provo and started a surveillance. Before an arrest could be made, Llewelyn got into a pickup truck and took off. A chase of 70–75 mph ensued but ended when a Utah County deputy hit the back end of Llewelyn’s truck, crashing it into a parked truck. Llewelyn was finally apprehended without any further incident. 

Three women were arrested for their involvement in helping Llewelyn avoid police and hiding his whereabouts. Two were family members and the third one was a woman police found in Ivins, Utah, who had been bragging about helping Llewelyn get away from police. 

Hundreds of residents showed up to thank law enforcement for all their work in keeping them safe. Some never realized how much officer put their lives on the line to protect the residents of their communities, but all the dedication and hard work to capture Llewelyn proved just how much these officers care. 

The event was attended by Unified Police Department’s Herriman Precinct, Unified Police Department’s Riverton Precinct, Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Department (including Sheriff Rosie Rivera), Herriman City Officials, SWAT and Unified Fire Authority. 

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