OGDEN, Utah (ABC 4 News) – It was a random act of gun violence. A man lost his life. It happened two years ago on an Ogden street. Today, family members and detectives are desperate for someone to come forward with a clue into who killed Jeffrey Bancroft.
The late shift worker had taken a dinner break. It was about 3 o’clock on the morning of October 24th, 2008. When Jeff Bancroft pulled into an all-night restaurant, he had no way of knowing that when he pulled out, he would be driving into a deadly trap.
At 3:24 that morning, Ogden police and fire responded to an alarm at the TraxAir company on Wall Avenue. A car had slammed into a pole outside the building. The driver was rushed to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.
"It was the worst day of my life," says Justin Bancroft as he fights the tears and chokes back the emotion he says has been just beneath the surface for two years.
Bancroft’s sons, 27 year-old Justin and 24 year-old Kurtis say they were jarred out of bed when the call came in their father had died.
“We were told it was just a car wreck and that he had passed away," says Justin.
About two hours later, the news got worse.
“As soon as I heard it had turned into a homicide, just instantaneously for me, I just dropped to my knees and couldn’t stop crying," Justin says.
The discovery — shocking even to police detectives — Jeff Bancroft had died before his car hit the building.
"At the hospital it was found the driver suffered not a death because of an auto accident,” says Ogden Police Detective Tim Scott, “but death involving gunshot wounds.”
Two years later, Detective Scott stands at the scene of the crime — the corner of 21st Street and Wall Avenue — and admits he’s frustrated by this case. He has no tangible leads, but he has an idea.
"We’re looking for somebody that would have been in the roadway at the time Mr. Bancroft was shot."
Detective Scott says the evidence tells him the killer was standing in the middle of Wall Avenue when he shot Bancroft in the chest. Scott says he thinks that as Bancroft hit the gas and drove away, the killer took another shot, hitting his victim in the back. Detective Scott says if what happened on that street corner were a failed carjacking attempt, the killer may have approached other vehicles.
"The perpetrator may have been here that whole time,” says Scott. “He may have talked with people, may have walked up on other people in cars stopped at the red lights, interacted with those people and those people may have just driven off and didn’t think anything of it. Those are the people we’d like to contact to give us some information or an idea of who we’re dealing with in this case."
Bancroft’s family are begging those people to come forward.
"All I can say is if you do know anything,” says Justin, “please call in and help us put this thing to rest and get some justice for my dad and for this family."
A plea for answers, from a determined detective, and a family forever changed by an act of violence.
Here’s how to contact Detective Tim Scott
(801) 629-8256 (0)
You can remain anonymous.