TAYLORSVILLE, Utah, Dec. 26, 2016 (Gephardt Daily) — A SWAT team surrounded a Taylorsville home Monday afternoon as a man believed to be armed barricaded himself inside.
The suspect, Geraldo Felix Tapia, 30, had been inside a home at 1802 W. 5000 South, according to Unified Police Department Detective Chuck Malm.
Shortly after 6 p.m., SWAT went into the home and found that the suspect was no longer on the premises.
“Our officers have cleared the residence,” Malm said. “The suspect, Mr. Tapia, is not in the residence. We believe he had fled at some point in the beginning stages of this investigation. We believe there may have been witnesses that have seen him leave the residence.”
Malm said Tapia is an Adult Probation and Parole fugitive who has felony warrants for his arrest for distribution of controlled substances and forgery.
“He is wanted by AP&P, he does have additional warrants for his arrest, and there will be additional charges. What those charges will be hasn’t been determined yet.”
Malm explained that police received a call to a domestic incident at approximately 2 p.m. The victim had fled the house.
“The female victim made contact with one of our officers and explained the situation. While our officers were speaking with the female, another officer went to the address, where the alleged domestic occurred,” Malm said.
“The suspect exited the house at the time, the officer challenged the suspect and the suspect then ran back into the home. The officer initially tried to pursue the suspect but backed off for officer safety reasons and held on the house.”
Malm said Tapia is known to carry firearms, which is why SWAT was called out. He said Tapia also has possible gang affiliations.
“We do have officers and detectives who will be following up, trying to locate Mr. Tapia. We do believe he is an armed and dangerous individual, so any help from the public in locating him, we’re asking they call Unified Police,” Malm said.
The phone number for UPD dispatch is 801-743-7000.
At the time SWAT was called, it was still an active situation, with officers trying to make contact with Tapia. Malm said officers had to do everything possible to ensure the safety of nearby residents, as well as the officers themselves, because of the suspect’s history.
Asked about the time it took between the initial call for help and the time it was determined that Tapia was no longer in the house, Malm again stressed the need to protect everyone in the area.
“We had a lot of resources, a lot of officers,” he said. “UTA stepped up and brought a bus to evacuate nearby residents — we had to make sure they were kept warm. It was all necessary to ensure everyone’s safety.”
Malm didn’t know the victim’s condition, but said he believes she’s OK.
“The domestic is still under investigation,” he said. “We’ll have more information later.”