Utah polygamist John Singer, who fought a year-long battle to keep his children out of public schools, was shot and killed today as he drew a pistol on eight police officers trying to arrest him.

Singer was hit with a shotgun blast in a showdown with officers at the mailbox on his farm in Marion, Utah, said Mike Graham, as administrative assistant to Gov. Scott Matheson.

"I don't really know what happened," said Vicky Singer, one of the excommunicated Mormon's two wives. "John went to get the mail. Ron [Sheriff Ron Robinson] and some other law enforcement officers met him there and we heard a shot.

"They tried to get him and I guess he pulled a gun. When he did, I guess they shot him. He said he wouldn't be taken."

Graham said eight uniformed officers went to serve an arrest warrant on Singer.

"Singer was aiming a gun at one of the deputies," said Graham. "They shot him with buckshot. It was Sheriff Robinson who made the decision to move on the Singer farm. He did not tell us in advance."

A juvenile court judge issued an arrest warrant for Singer last April when he refused to appear at a court hearing on whether his children should be forced to attend public schools.

Singer had pulled his 10 children out of public schools, saying they were learning immoral ways.

The fundamentalist set up his own school at home.