West Valley City man in custody after SWAT standoff, police negotiators bring tense situation to peaceful end

File photo: Gephardt Daily/Monico Garza/SLCScanner

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah, March 31, 2022 (Gephardt Daily) — A police standoff with a barricaded, armed and unstable suspect ended quietly here without injuries or shots fired. But not before family members, neighbors and police shared some nine hours of tension and suspense.

The incident began about about 8 a.m. Wednesday in a house in the area of 4400 S. Deer Meadow Drive, police said, when a couple’s bedroom door was kicked in by their pistol-waving son.

He threatened them, Lt. Bill Merritt, West Valley City Police, told Gephardt Daily. But the suspect ended up threatening use the gun on himself.

Shortly before 10 a.m. the parents were able to flee, unharmed but frightened, and 911 was called. The son, described as in his 30s, was living in his parents’ basement.

“He was suffering from some kind of psychotic episode,” Merritt said.

West Valley City police responded to the scene, as did SWAT officers, an armored vehicle, negotiators and a deputy chief.

“It wasn’t a full SWAT call out,” the lieutenant said. “We did have a couple of designated snipers in case he came out shooting. We like to have the armored vehicle if we ever have to get up close and personal. We have lots of lunatics who shoot at it.”

Things never reached that point or anything approaching it. The situation was deescalated through phone negotiations.

“It wasn’t like he was yelling out a window threatening to shoot up the neighborhood,” Merritt said.

Instead, he said, the suspect remained alone in the house talking with the department’s trained negotiators over a period of six hours or more. One negotiator in particular, talked with the man for several hours consecutively.

By 5 p.m. the distraught man came out peacefully and was taken into custody, Merritt said.

“Apparently he was being bothered by things he couldn’t see.”


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