Unified Police: Suspect in Taylorsville SWAT response also target of police action hours earlier

John W. Pickett. Photo: Salt Lake County

TAYLORSVILLE, Utah, Sept. 8, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — A Taylorsville man who sparked a SWAT response Saturday outside his family’s residence has been charged with felony assault.

John Wayne Pickett, 35, was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail on Saturday on suspicion of:

  • Aggravated assault, a third-degree felony
  • Assault against a police officer, a class A misdemeanor
  • Failure to stop at the command of an officer, a class A misdemeanor
  • Criminal mischief, a class B misdemeanor

The probable cause statement also revealed that Pickett had been the cause for a police response to his residence Saturday morning, prior to the alleged aggravated assault that brought on the SWAT response.

Late morning incident and SWAT

A probable cause statement filed in the case says that at 11:15 a.m. Saturday, the suspect later identified as Pickett was northbound on Redwood Road, preparing to turn west onto 5400 South.

A woman who later contacted police said she also merged to turn left, and was behind Pickett, in her vehicle.

“For an unknown reason, J.P. (John Pickett) became enraged and began making hand gestures towards her and yelling,” says the probable cause statement, filed by an officer of the Unified Police Department.

“Victim states she looked over, and J.P. had a black handgun pointed at her from the inside of his vehicle. Victim states that J.P. was leaned over the passenger seat of his vehicle and had the barrel pressed to the window, pointing the firearm at her.

“An independent witness also called police to report this incident right after it happened. Victim states she clearly saw J.P. point a black handgun directly at the victim from his vehicle.

“J.P. was observed pulling up to his residence. J.P. was confronted by police and given commands to stop. J.P. ignored commands and fled into the house.”

Due to the nature of the aggravated assault, containment was set up on Pickett’s residence, the statement says. Police responded to the area of 6000 S. Hazelhurst Drive (2800 West), Taylorsville.

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Taylorsville City tweeted at 12:59 p.m. for residents to stay clear of the area.

“He refused to come out on his own,” Detective Kevin Mallory told Gephardt Daily. “We continued for several hours to try and get him out on his own. We were doing everything we could to end it peacefully.”

After several hours of negotiation, it was tear gas fired into the Taylorsville residence that brought an end to the multi-hour SWAT standoff. Mallory said Pickett surrendered after tear gas was fired at about 3:10 p.m. Saturday.

“J.P. became combative once in handcuffs and was trying to pull away from officers,” the probable cause statement says. “J.P. was placed into a patrol vehicle where he would not put his legs in and attempted to kick officers. J.P. was yelling and then spit in an officer’s face.”

Earlier incident

Police had responded to Pickett’s family residence before 7 a.m. the same day, the probable cause statement also notes.

“On 9/7/2019 at 0651 hours, we were called to J.P.’s residence as he was making lots of noise and was yelling at his family,” the statement says. “J.P. was yelling that his family couldn’t kick him out and was being erratic. J.P. was locked out of the house, but crawled through a window and broke a vase on his way in. J.P. left the residence before officers arrived.”

About two hours later, the family again called police, “… saying J.P. was back on scene getting in their faces and yelling. J.P. broke the glass on the front storm door as he left the residence again. Between this incident and the above case J.P. returned to the house two more times, yelling at his family and getting in their faces.”

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