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Man in custody after allegedly holding someone hostage, shooting at officers


WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah — A 50-year-old man was arrested early Saturday morning following a SWAT situation in West Valley City.

Garman Shaun Cunningham was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of eleven offenses, including assault against a peace officer with a weapon or force, aggravated assault act committed with force/violence to injure, aggravated kidnapping and felony discharge of a firearm, among others.

Lt. Sean McCarthy with the West Valley City Police Department said officers were dispatched to the area of 3300 South and Greenmont Drive just before 10:10 p.m. Friday.

According to the probable cause statement, police were told Cunningham was armed with a gun and had been holding a victim hostage since Nov. 1.

“The victim reports that Garman murdered an unidentified female while the victim watched and then disposed of the body in an undisclosed area,” read the document. “The victim also reports that Garman held a gun to the victim’s head, cut the victim with glass and a knife, and forced the victim to drink WD40.”

According to court documents, the victim was not allowed to sleep while she was being held hostage and was only offered a little amount of food.

Cunningham also wanted the victim to engage in sexual intercourse.

“The victim felt that if they told Garman that they did not want to have sexual intercourse that Garman would most likely kill them. This was a strong belief due to witnessing a female already get murdered,” the document stated.

Police said Cunningham threw objects out the window towards officers.

He also told them he was armed.

The 50-year-old then fired a shot at officers, according to court documents.

McCarthy said he refused to exit the residence, so a SWAT team was called out.

“Garman eventually exited the residence while armed with a sword,” read the probable cause statement. “After several commands by officers were ignored to drop the sword, less lethal force was used on Garman, and he dropped the sword.”

Cunningham then took off running.

Because he would not respond to officer commands, a K-9 was deployed to stop Cunningham, which ended up injuring him, according to McCarthy.

While he was being taken into custody, police said he fought with officers.

“Garman has previous charges that make him a restricted person on possession of a firearm,” concluded the probable cause statement.

McCarthy said the victim was transported to the hospital as a precaution.

Police have not determined if the “unidentified female” the victim spoke of has in fact been murdered.

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