Update: Suspect considered armed, dangerous, evades arrest in Salt Lake City neighborhood

Felix Stephan Benitez-Zarogoza was the subject of a police manhunt in the area near and northwest of Liberty Park in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020. Photos: Salt Lake County; UDOT traffic camera

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Feb. 15, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — A wanted fugitive managed to evade arrest Saturday despite the efforts of police from multiple agencies to take him into custody.

That doesn’t mean they will stop watching for him, though.

Felix Stephan Benitez-Zarogoza, 23, was first spotted Saturday afternoon by Unified Police officers in Millcreek.

“They found a vehicle they had been told he was driving, and the vehicle at the time was unoccupied,” Unified Police Department Sgt. Melody Gray said.

A detective had the vehicle under surveillance when the suspect entered it, Gray said. The detective knew the suspect had fled before, so tried to pin him in at the site, near 3700 South and 700 East.

Benitez-Zarogoza fled, with officers in pursuit. The chase went from Millcreek to Salt Lake City, and ended at 1300 South and 900 East, when the suspect crashed his vehicle into another and took off on foot.

He dropped a gun as he fled, Gray told reporters at the scene of the crash.

A 28-year-old woman in the car was taken into custody on felony warrants, Gray said.

Officers searched for Benitez-Zarogoza in the area northeast of Liberty Park, but were unable to find him.

Benitez-Zarogoza is wanted for aggravated assault parole violation, other instances of aggravated assault, and four counts of fleeing, Gray said.

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“He is known to be armed and dangerous,” she said. “We have located a handgun and a rifle in the vehicle. There is a possibility he is still armed.”

Officials were warning the public not to approach Benitez-Zarogoza, but to just call the police if you see him. That advice still holds.

After the active search for the fugitive was called off, Gray said officers will still be watching for him if he shows up in the area again.

Benitez-Zarogoza’s previous convictions (and charges dismissed in plea deals) include the following:

  • Possession or use of a controlled substance, in a Nov. 10, 2016, incident, a class A misdemeanor. (Dismissed, use or possession of drug paraphernalia, a class B misdemeanor; giving false personal identity to a peace officer, a class C misdemeanor)
  • Attempted aggravated assault, amended from a third-degree felony to a class A misdemeanor; Electronic communications harassment, a class A misdemeanor, in an Oct. 22, 2016, incident (Dismissed: Threat of violence, a class A misdemeanor; theft, a class B misdemeanor)
  • Violation of a protective order, a class A misdemeanor, based on a Dec. 20, 2015, incident
  • Assault, a class B misdemeanor; criminal mischief, a class B misdemeanor, in a May 23, 2015, incident (Dismissed: Two counts of domestic violence in the presence of a child, a class B misdemeanor)
Felix Stephan Benitez-Zarogoza. Photo: Salt Lake County

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