99-year-old West Valley City woman held hostage overnight after shooting suspect breaks into home

SWAT officers take up positions outside a West Valley City home where a teenage shooting suspect held a 99-year-old woman hostage overnight and into Saturday morning. Photo: Gephardt Daily/Monico Garza/SLCScanner

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WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah, Feb. 24, 2018 (Gephardt Daily) — A 99-year-old West Valley City woman is safe and unharmed after being held hostage in her home overnight by a potentially suicidal Magna shooting suspect.

The incident began around 8 p.m., when the armed suspect — identified by police as 18-year-old Freddy Velasquez — opened fire on a home in Magna.

While officers from the Metro Gang Unit were attempting to find Valasquez, investigators received a tip he was in the parking lot of a West Valley City motel adjacent to the Maverik Center.

As police moved in, Velasquez ran, holding a gun to his head while crossing 3500 South and heading into the backyard of a nearby home. There police say Velasquez shot out the rear windows of the residence at 3533 S. 2200 West before forcing his way inside.

Lt. Brian Lohrke of Unified Police told Gephardt Daily that three or four people inside the home managed to escape, but a 99-year-old woman was trapped inside with the gunman.

SWAT officers take up positions outside a West Valley City home where a teenage shooting suspect held a 99-year-old woman hostage overnight and into Saturday morning. Photo: Gephardt Daily/Monico Garza/SLCScanner

SWAT teams from Unified Police and West Valley City encircled the home while negotiators contacted Velasquez. After several hours, he released the elderly woman at about 3:30 a.m.

Velasquez continued to keep SWAT officers at bay until just after 5 a.m., when he made his way into the garage and was attempting to steal a car in order to make a getaway.

SWAT officers take up positions outside a West Valley City home where a teenage shooting suspect held a 99-year-old woman hostage overnight and into Saturday morning. Photo: Gephardt Daily/Monico Garza/SLCScanner

SWAT team members responded by blocking the driveway with several vehicles, including an armored personnel carrier.

Officers then entered the garage and took Velasquez into custody without further incident.

After the arrest, police say they found Velasquez’s handgun inside the car.

The 99-year-old woman — whose name was not released — was reunited with family members.

Velasquez was booked into the Salt Lake County jail on numerous felony charges.

1 COMMENT

  1. I’m happy to see the suspect and the victim are both alive. This could have ended tragically. We don’t have any details yet and while I certainly don’t condone his behaviour he is only 18. God bless the woman he held hostage. She is a champion!

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