SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, May 4, 2018 (Gephardt Daily) — A man was “lucky he didn’t get shot” Thursday night, after he made a serious effort to ram his vehicle into several police cars, even chasing them around in a parking lot, demolition-derby style.
The bizarre episode began at about 9:45 p.m. when Metro Gang officers in an unmarked car were patrolling the area of 1200 West and 1230 South.
Salt Lake City Police Lt. Dave Cracroft said the suspect was in a minivan, and as he pulled out of a driveway, he started trying to ram the unmarked police car with his vehicle.
The officers were able to dodge that, Cracroft said, and they called for additional help.
The suspect chased them in his van, and they drove into a nearby church parking lot, where the man persisted in attempting to crash into them. When other officers arrived, they tried to box the suspect in because they thought he might go out onto California Avenue and start ramming into citizens.
One of the officers in a car in the intersection tried to cut the suspect off, and the suspect rammed that police car and then backed into another one, “so two police cars are damaged,” Cracroft said.
At that point, the suspect’s minivan was disabled, so officers approached it. One used a Taser on the suspect, but it had no effect.
Police then deployed a canine.
“The canine was working,” Cracroft said, “but the suspect ended up grabbing the canine and was biting the canine — so we had a struggle inside (the minivan), with the handler and another officer and the suspect and the canine.”
Cracroft said one of the officers broke his wrist, either by hitting the suspect or trying to disentangle him from the dog.
“Fortunately, we got the guy out of the car, the dog is OK, the officer is on his way to the hospital, and the suspect also was taken to the hospital to be treated for the dog bite,” Cracroft told reporters.
“We were concerned we were going to end up eventually having to shoot him. Fortunately, he wasn’t shot. We had a psych issue with him a couple weeks ago,” Cracroft said, adding that it was too early to know if this violent episode was the result of mental problems or substance abuse.
Police later identified the suspect as Raul Perez Amezcua, and said he lives near where the incident occurred. He is now facing several charges, including at least two charges of aggravated assault.