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Standoff with heavily armed Utah man ends peacefully

By Jacob Hancock and Sara Israelsen-Hartley
The Deseret Morning News

EAGLE MOUNTAIN, Utah — A former Guardsman who barricaded himself in his Eagle Mountain home with an arsenal of more than a dozen weapons was arrested after a three-hour standoff Thursday afternoon, according to police and witnesses.

The 34-year-old man refused to come out of his home, despite being surrounded by SWAT teams and lengthy negotiations until police agreed to meet four requirements, according to Dave Block, assignment manager at KSL-TV, who received a 15-minute call from the man during the standoff.

"He called because he just wanted to tell his side of the story," said Block. "He said he didn't have to leave just because police came to his door and demanded that he step out."

The incident began just before 11:30 a.m. when the man got into a fight with his wife. The wife told a neighborhood friend about the argument, who in turn reported it to police, officers and witnesses said.

The man answered his door when police arrived and stood back while his wife and four children left the home to talk to officers. He, however, refused to leave and slammed the door, police said.

"When an officer asked if he had any weapons he said, 'That's for me to know and you to find out,"' Utah County Sheriff Sgt. Darren Gilbert said. "He was elusive and very defensive."

Block, however, described a very different man than described by officers: "He was absolutely calm and didn't seem upset at all," Block said. "(He may have been worried, but no, not upset — just as calm as our conversation now."

The former Utah National Guardsman also told Block he had served two tours in the Middle East and had been trained in sniper shooting.

Capt. Karen Nuccitelli, spokesman for the Utah National Guard, said the man served a 16-month Iraqi tour from 2002 to 2003 with the 1457 Combat Battalion. Nuccitelli could not confirm the man had served a second tour.
During phone negotiations with police, the man asked for a letter signed by a judge guaranteeing that police would not arrest him, that they would not book him into jail, that they would not search his home and that the swarming police would go away.

Police said, they told the man they would comply and soon produced a signed letter listing the demands. When asked what judge signed such an untypical agreement, Gilbert said he would not go into details. When asked if the police had produced a couterfeit letter from a judge he said: "Well, you can just say we produced what we had to and did what we had to to end a dangerous situation and bring it to a peaceful resolve. That's what matters."

After receiving the letter at about 2:40 p.m., police said, the man walked out of the home and was immediately arrested.

Children leaving the nearby Pony Express Elementary School were diverted to a nearby LDS church in the Kiowa Valley neighborhood. Parents were already picking up children at the church when a Red Cross emergency service vehicle with food and water arrived at the building.

By 5 p.m. the Eagle Mountain man had been booked into Utah County Jail for investigation of making terroristic threats and domestic violence in the presence of children.

Copyright 2008 Deseret Morning News

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