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Ogden • About 60 supporters of Matthew David Stewart met here Thursday and decried drug raids like the one that led to the shootout at his home.
"We don't want our son to be the poster boy for the legalization of anything," said Michael Stewart, the suspect's father. "Violence is the issue. We want to stop the violence."
Stewart's family also asked the audience at the Weber County Library for help with his defense. There was a donation box in the meeting room; Michael Stewart said they need money for investigators.
Michael Stewart said donations stopped arriving after a search warrant was released last month in which police suggested his son looked at child pornography and held extreme political views.
Jesse Fruhwirth, a former reporter who has worked with the Occupy movement, led the meeting. He opened with a prayer that remembered Jared Francom, the officer killed in the Jan. 4 raid.
Fruhwirth called Francom a "family man who lost his life doing his job and following orders."
Stewart's family called on police to use less violence and end searches that require kicking in doors and drawing guns.
"The current method of breaching homes has proven dangerous," said Erna Stewart, the suspect's sister-in-law.
Erna Stewart also called on the city of Ogden to withdraw from the Weber-Morgan Narcotics Strike Force, which attempted to serve the search warrant on Matthew Stewart. Francom was an agent on the strike force.
Frankie Gallegos, who said he lives around the corner from Matthew Stewart's home, spoke from the crowd. He pointed out there were children living in homes next to the violent gun battle that also wounded Matthew Stewart and five other police officers.
"What would have happened if something had happened to one of those children?" Gallegos asked.
There also was criticism of Weber County Attorney Dee Smith, a candidate for Utah attorney general. Liz Martinez Hoffman wants Smith to find the officers unjustified in raiding the house and firing weapons at Matthew Stewart.
County attorneys typically review police shootings to ensure the officers were acting within the law.
"If Dee Smith did his job and took a sterner look at all police shootings, our community would be less violent," Martinez Hoffman said.
Some speakers called for the legalization of drugs, including David Doddridge, a former Los Angeles police officer who works as a private investigator in St. George. In one of the longest speeches of the night, Doddridge told stories about his days investigating narcotics in Los Angeles all the way to problems he sees with current U.S. drug policy in Afghanistan.
"I feel bad for the [police] officers who are just following orders," Doddridge said.
Stewart, 37, has been charged with aggravated murder and eight other felony counts related to the shooting and marijuana cultivation.
He has not been charged with child pornography. Smith has filed notice that he intends to seek the death penalty.
Court documents claim Stewart was in a hiding spot as the strike force was searching the house to see if anyone was inside. Stewart then emerged from the hiding spot, court documents say, and began firing a 9 mm Beretta, first shooting Officer Shawn Grogan in the face.
Francom was shot six times, according to the court papers.
Also injured by gunfire were Weber County sheriff's Sgt. Nate Hutchinson, Roy police Officer James VanderWarf, Ogden police Officer Michael Rounkles, and Ogden police Officer Kasey Burrell. All the injured have been released from hospitals.