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Officer cleared in shooting by Stokes Market

No charges will be filed against Franklin County Deputy Kelly Biggs, the officer whose bullets ended the life of Raul Antonio Menjvar-Saabedra on Nov. 19, in Preston.

Evidence from cameras and witnesses confirm that Saabedra, 50, Grace, was intent on forcing officers to end his life for him that night.

Police had been called at 8:37 p.m. when store personnel became alarmed at Saabedra’s behavior. Officer Dustin Olsen was called in by first responder, Preston Police Officer Tuyen Nguyen, to help communicate with Saabedra, as Olsen speaks fluent Spanish.

“It became immediately apparent that (Saabedra) was mentally unstable,” states the report.

Saabedra pointed at several shoppers saying that they were there to kill him. On at least eight different times over the next two hours as officers tried to calm him, he told officers that he preferred them to kill him in order to avoid people he thought were intent on torturing him for his sins.

After about an hour, Deputy Olsen was able to convince Saabedra to place a 13” knife from Stokes and concealed in his jacket, inside a bag and to exit the store with the officers.

Saabedra’s friend and former bishop in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Dal Sellers, then showed up at the scene and tried to calm Saabedra’s mind. Sellers had been looking for Saabedra since making arrangements earlier in the day to pick him up in Preston at the bus station and take him home to Grace. Saabedra rode the bus from Logan to Preston after being released from a behavioral health unit in Logan Utah where he had admitted himself a week before for suicidal ideations.

After about another hour of trying to help Saabedra calm down, it was decided that it was best if Sellers left, he said in a previous interview. So he did.

Seller’s agitated friend took several steps with the knife towards Deputy Olsen and Preston Police Chief Dan McCammon, then stopped.

Officer Biggs then arrived on the scene, and Saabedra headed towards him. Officer Biggs told him to “stop right there,” three times, but Saabedra had the knife in a raised position and did not stop.

Deputy Biggs, Deputy Olsen and Officer Nguyen all deployed their tasers with no effect. “It is believed that the clothes Saabedra was wearing prevented the taser prongs from attaching properly,” states the report. Saabedra slowed momentarily, then fled to the road in front of V-1 Propane, just south of Stokes Market. Officers pursued, and Saabedra raised the knife towards them several times.

Officers tried to talk Saabedra into putting down the knife. Instead, he stepped slowly towards Deputy Biggs then sprinted towards him with the knife raised. The report states that the officer felt he had to take action to preserve his own life at that point, and fired a shot. Saabedra stopped briefly after being struck in the shoulder area, then continued to rush towards Deputy Biggs with the knife raised up. Deputy Biggs discharged two additional shots from his weapon. They were fatal.

“Saabedra made himself a clear and immediate danger to Deputy Biggs, who was engaged in the lawful performance of his duties,” states the Critical Incident Task Force Memorandum issued by Franklin County Prosecuting Attorney Vic A. Pearson today, Jan. 3.

“The entire incident was covered by a great deal of camera coverage,” from both the businesses where the incident took place as well as body cameras attached to officers.

“It is abundantly clear that Deputy Biggs would be in fear of great bodily harm or death at the moment he fired his weapon,” states Pearson’s report. The report states that other officers were equally concerned for Deputy Bigg’s life at the point shots were fired. Officer Nguyen stated that he did not fire because there was a vehicle in line of fire behind Saabedra.

NeciaSeamons / By LOGAN CHECKETTS 

Jacob Christensen, Hunter Checketts, Bridger Christensen, Tanner Nance, Conley Keller, Trey Smith, Bradyn Noreen, Brentan Noreen, Gavin Waechtler, Trevyn Hadley, Cody Naylor, Emmett Waechtler, Tytys Christensen, Sam Tolman, Trystan Christensen, and Arron McDaniel gathered at Clifton First Ward Troop 48’s final Eagle Scout Court of Honor.

Non-denominational Scout troop organized

Although the Scouting program is no longer sponsored by the church, local youth still interested in the program now have a unit to belong to, said organizer Rebecca Serr.

At present, about a dozen young men have registered to be part of Troop 30, which meets Thursday nights at 7 p.m. at the Franklin County Extension Office, 561 W. Oneida, Preston. It is part of the new Mount Naomi District.

Serr, the mother of four boys, said she pushed for the organization of the troop in response to the desire many local youth have in remaining involved with the Scouting program. She has been actively involved for several years in the former Franklin District of the Trapper Trails Council of Boy Scouts of America. Two of her sons have earned their Eagle Scout rank and the other two are working towards that goal as well.

Once the troop found Jared Jensen to sponsor the troop through his company, ACME Fireworks, they identified Ben Babb as Scout Master, Ammon Serr as charter representative, and a scouting committee: Bev Smith, Mandy Babb, Lisa Baird and LaRon Baird.

An effort is also being made to organize a pack for Cub Scouts, said Rebecca. “We are looking for people to help with the pack. Please call if you are interested in helping or have a child that wants to be involved,” said Serr. She can be reached at 208-406-8937. She hopes the pack can be organized in the next couple of weeks.

Serr said with the adoption of a new children and youth program by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Scouting in the Franklin County area will become an extracurricular activity “just like any sports team.”

“(The two programs) can absolutely work together. They are not mutually exclusive. Instead of choosing a sport or in addition to choosing a sport, (kids) will choose Scouting,” she said.

“The Church’s program of helping youth learn to set goals can go hand-in-hand with the current Scouting program. You can still participate in both of them. It’s just what best meets the needs of your family,” she said.

In addition to helping her own boys grow through the Eagle Scouting program, Serr said she was motivated to get Troop 30 organized because of the “influence it had in my dad’s life, who was not a member of the Church (of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). That’s what helped him get through being a kid, and to grow.”

“(Scouting) provides leadership opportunities for kids. Overall I think the BSA is one of the few groups that teach duty to God, duty to country, duty others and duty to self. It also teaches the virtues of being trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent,” she said.

“There are other ways to develop leadership in boys, but I believe the Eagle projects will be missed the most,” said Lincoln Mumford, who was been involved with the BSA as both a Scout as well as an adult leader.

“The value of the Eagle project isn’t just the service provided to the community, but it is almost magical how the boy begins to see himself as a contributing part of that community — part of its fabric. His view of his life expands and he sees himself as part of something greater than just him. That’s a great thing for a person to feel,” said Lincoln Mumford, a member of a former Eagle Board of review.