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February 14, 2007
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SLC off-duty officer shrugs off 'hero' title

By Kristen Moulton
The Salt Lake Tribune 

OGDEN, Utah - Kenneth Hammond said tonight he does not feel like a hero, and was only doing what any other off-duty officer would do.

What the Ogden police officer did was to help to stop 18-year-old Sulejman Talovic, who opened fire with a shotgun at Trolley Square on Monday, killing five people and wounding four.

"I was just the one that was there," he said at a news conference tonight at the Ogden police station.

He described a harrowing experience in which he and his pregnant wife, Sarina Hammond, enjoyed a romantic dinner at Rodizio's restaurant in the Salt Lake City mall.

They had just left the restaurant on the second floor and were about to shop for a Valentine's Day gift for their son when he heard what he first thought was construction noise.

When he looked over the balcony to the first floor, however, he saw several victims lying to his left, and to the right a gunman coming out of a store.

Hammond drew his .45-caliber service weapon and began screaming to people in the mall that he was an off-duty Ogden police officer. "It was tense for a few seconds. I'm screaming as loud as I can."

The shooter fired at Hammond, and he returned fire, but evidently missed. Hammond said he got down on the floor but knew he needed to find a safer place in case the gunman came up the escalator behind him.

When he rose to look, he saw a Salt Lake City officer and yelled to identify himself. Hammond went down the escalator and the two officers pursued the gunman and shot at him. After several seconds of silence, Hammond said he heard what sounded like machine gun fire - it came from SWAT officers who had rushed in - looked up to see fallen glass and saw that the gunman was down.

He said he doesn't know whose bullets killed the man. 

Copyright 2007 Salt Lake Tribune

Full story: SLC off-duty officer shrugs off 'hero' title

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