LOCAL NEWS

Neighbors witness South Salt Lake hostage situation that left suspect and victim dead

Jun 17, 2018, 9:56 PM | Updated: 10:42 pm

SOUTH SALT LAKE, Utah – Police are investigating a hostage situation that left the suspect and one victim dead. The SWAT team was called out to a house at 450 E. Stanley Ave. (3180 South) Sunday after a man took an elderly couple hostage in their own home, according to police.

At least one neighbor witnessed the tense situation.

“There were already some officers in full on camo gear,” said Tom Mills. “I thought, this looks like a military operation.”

Mills walked out of his house around 11:30 Sunday afternoon to see the SWAT team was already on scene. A hostage situation was underway just a few doors down from his home.

“When I walked out of the house, there was a police officer up here saying ‘get back in your house, get back in your house.’ And that’s when I heard boom, boom, boom,” said Mills.

A KSL crew was also on scene when shots were fired. Police say those were the shots that took out the man holding an elderly couple hostage. They say negotiators tried talking to him but the suspect’s intentions were clear.

“Negotiations began with the male. After some choice words, the male made it very clear his intent was to harm or to kill the individuals inside the residence,” said Chief Jack Carruth with South Salt Lake Police.

Police say it all started earlier Sunday morning, when a family member called to check on their grandparents. A man they did not recognize answered the phone. The family member called 911 and also drove to the house, but the intruder answered the door.

“That male then at that point identified to them that he had taken the couple hostage,” said Carruth.

Police took over from there. They say at some point, the suspect fired a shot from inside the home. After he was killed, police found the woman dead and the man critically injured. Both are in their late 70s to early 80s.

Mills says he’s heartbroken for family members who were on scene.

“I just remember her saying, ‘is he alive, is he alive? What hospital are you taking him to?’” said Mills. “My heart goes out to that elderly couple.

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Neighbors witness South Salt Lake hostage situation that left suspect and victim dead