LOCAL NEWS

Legacy Parkway Reopened Following SWAT Standoff On Bridge

Mar 17, 2021, 12:18 PM | Updated: 7:27 pm

BOUNTIFUL, Utah – A SWAT team responded to a standoff that closed Legacy Parkway Wednesday afternoon.

It wasn’t immediately clear what led to the chase, but video from Chopper 5 showed a man, who was later identified as Michael Looser, standing next to a white and red pickup truck with an American flag draped over the tailgate.

Witnesses said they noticed Looser driving erratically in his pickup along Interstate 15. Some added his side windows appeared to be painted over with what looked like gold spraypaint, with an American flag covering the back and his license plate.

There was a brief chase, that ended as the Looser’s truck broke down on the bridge over Legacy Parkway. Video from Chopper 5 showed the vehicle’s driver-side door and hood were both open.

“The vehicle actually died … became inoperable on the overpass of Legacy highway, on Center Street in North Salt Lake,” said Sgt. Mitch Gwilliam with the North Salt Lake Police Department.

Lt. Troy Killian with the Bountiful Police Department said the Bountiful SWAT Team was called out after the police pursuit was initiated.

SWAT officers used tear gas to get Looser out of his vehicle, but roughly 90 minutes of negotiations appeared to go nowhere as officers said Looser became aggressive.

“Being very aggressive, had a metal rod in his hand that he was using, swinging around in a threatening manner,” Gwilliam said. “Unusual statements — erratic, nonsensical statements is what it sounded like to me. He was asking officers how far he could throw (the pole), if he should throw it — it wasn’t making sense.”

A line of police vehicles was barricading the road, and several responders could be seen standing behind shields.

Gwilliam said things escalated when Looser made threats, saying there was a bomb in the car, along with a shotgun.

“The threat-level escalated by him to the point where on top of making the threats with the firearm and a bomb, he was using what appeared to be lighter fluid or the starter fluid for his vehicle with a lighter, and possibly trying to start his truck on fire,” Gwilliam said. “So there was definitely an additional safety risk, that it escalated at that point.”

Eventually, Looser fled on foot away from his vehicle and off the side of the road.

“And he starts making a run down the hill, and then you could hear a bunch of popping from some nonlethal weapons,” said freelance photographer Matt Newey, who was in the area on a bike ride when the incident occurred. “And then the dogs were running after him as well.”

Gwilliam confirmed officers used nonlethal weapons, including foam bullets and gas and pepper spray rounds.

Officers surrounded Looser and tackled him before walking him to a nearby ambulance.

Authorities closed Legacy Parkway in both directions from the I-215 junction to 500 South in Bountiful during the incident.

Police did find a shotgun in Looser’s truck, but no explosives. Legacy Parkway was reopened around 1:30 p.m.

“The reason it took so long is we wanted to give him every opportunity to surrender, and when he doesn’t surrender, but continues to make additional threats, including potentially starting his vehicle on fire and putting others in jeopardy, that just puts us into a position where we have to take action,” Gwilliam said.

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Legacy Parkway Reopened Following SWAT Standoff On Bridge