- Associated Press - Friday, August 28, 2015

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - A Utah highway trooper is expected to survive despite being hit three times during an early morning shootout with a suspect who later died from gunshot wounds near Hill Air Force Base in northern Utah, authorities said Friday.

Sgt. Paul Kotter was hit twice in the back and once in the buttocks, but avoided major injury because he was wearing a bullet proof vest, said Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Todd Royce. Only fragments of one of the bullets entered his body. After surgery, the veteran trooper was in good spirits alongside his family Friday and already looking forward to getting back to work, Royce said.

The shootout occurred at about 2 a.m. in Layton just outside Hill Air Force Base when Drew Moyer, 21, drove into an off-limits construction zone. Kotter approached Moyer’s car and a shootout ensued, Royce said.

While two other troopers gave aid to Kotter, Moyer fled in his car before smashing into a parked semi-trailer in the same construction zone. Troopers found him dead in his car. Authorities say it appears he died from a self-inflicted gunshot, but Royce emphasized the investigation is ongoing.

He said it’s not known yet what was said or happened that led to the exchange of gunfire. Royce said Kotter reported smelling alcohol on Moyer.

Online state court records show only one criminal conviction in Moyer’s past. In 2013, Moyer pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor marijuana possession charge.

Kotter was not wearing a body camera during the incident but a dash-cam video may be released at a later date, Royce said.

Davis County authorities are investigating the incident.

Kotter has worked for Utah Highway Patrol for 15 years, Royce said. He oversees training and acclimation into the agency for all new recruits, he said.

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