Suspect identified in pursuit, shootout in southern Utah
WASHINGTON COUNTY, Utah — Police identified a suspect Thursday in a chain of events that spanned from Hurricane to Rockville and included a pursuit, shots fired at random cars and a shootout with officers.
According to investigators, the situation began when 55-year-old Shannon Alan Griffin, of Rockville, allegedly brandished a weapon at a father and daughter on State Street in Hurricane on Wednesday.
Lt. David Crouse with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office said witnesses reported the man’s truck to officers and that it had stopped at a business.
Officers stopped the truck, but when officers told Griffin to exit the vehicle, he refused, according to investigators. When an officer attempted to physically remove him from the vehicle, Crouse said he took off toward state Route 9.
With police in pursuit, investigators said Griffin began firing at other cars along the road, damaging at least 10 while traveling at speeds that at times exceeded 100 mph.
“This could have had catastrophic consequences and people were extremely lucky,” Crouse said at a Thursday afternoon news conference recapping the mayhem. “We heard of one report of a bullet hole actually going through the shirt of one of the victims.”
At milepost 25 on S.R. 9, police attempted to spike Griffin’s tires. Investigators confirmed one officer at that point opened fire at Griffin.
The truck ultimately came to a stop in Rockville. As he exited, investigators said Griffin exchanged gunfire with two Hurricane police officers before disappearing into a neighborhood.
Police set up containment in an attempt to take Griffin into custody. It was a report of a single gunshot, however, that ultimately led officers to a backyard where they found Griffin with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Griffin was transported to St. George Regional Hospital and was said to be in critical condition Thursday.
The three officers who opened fire during the chain of events were placed on paid administrative leave pending an investigation, according to Crouse.
“It’s been a pretty crazy last 24 hours,” Crouse told reporters.
Neighbors were still talking about what happened.
“Oh everyone was kind of trapped here in town, yeah,” said resident Lezlie Heller. “My housekeeper lives across the street and she was nervous. Her husband was nervous. And they stayed in the house stayed low.”
Police were asking anyone with relevant video of Wednesday’s events to contact the Hurricane Police Department.
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