Friends say they’re fortunate to be OK after armed carjacking in Salt Lake City
SALT LAKE CITY — Two Salt Lake County men feel very lucky to be alive after a terrifying carjacking that had them face-to-face with a gun pointed at their head.
The life-threatening moments were caught on cell phone video by a driver along Interstate 15 and the 600 South off-ramp.
The two friends — Tyler Goudy, 27, and Ehsan Arman, 31 — were traveling to an event in Salt Lake City, just before 6 p.m. on Saturday. Goudy was behind the driver seat when traffic came to a halt because a man was in the middle of the road with a gun.
“Hand on the hood [of the car], gun pointed out like this, just right at us,” Goudy told KSL. “Just kind of flex like this and leaned back and just was like, this is gonna hurt, because I thought the same thing as Ehsan, I’m about to get shot and this is it. It’s going to end right here.”
“He’s gonna do it right now. He’s gonna do it right now. How painful is it?” Arman said.
“I opened the door and I say, ‘Hey, it’s OK, just calm down, just calm down. We’re gonna give you the car and you’re gonna let us go,’” Goudy said.
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Goudy and Arman both said their minds raced to their families, thinking they may never see them again.
Fortunately, the suspect didn’t shoot, and Goudy and Arman took off running. Then, the suspect suddenly got back out of the car because Goudy still had the keys.
“I just grabbed the keys, just kind of lobbed them [on to the road], put my hands up, and just started scooting back like that,” Goudy said.
The suspect, who was later identified as 38-year-old Matt Cieslak, then drove off, and was later killed in a shootout with Salt Lake City police.
Cieslak was actually a one-time war hero with the Utah National Guard, who served several tours. In 2010, he got the prestigious Utah Cross award for saving a man’s life in Cambodia.
“He was a great soldier and a great man,” said Marc Cooper, who was Cieslak’s commanding officer for many years.
Cooper said he’s just devastated over what happened.
“That is absolutely not the Matt I knew,” he said.
Cooper said Cieslak was undergoing treatment at the VA Hospital in Salt Lake City, but doesn’t know all that was wrong with him.
“As horrible as [the carjacking] was, as horrendous as it was, there can be a lot of speculation, and I’m hoping, at some point, we can have answers to why he did what he did. I don’t want this to be the capstone of Matt’s life,” Cooper said. “He was a stellar individual — super competent, extremely professional, had an amazing sense of humor; just a happy guy.”
Goudy and Arman said they had this feeling of compassion for the man who held them at gunpoint after it was all over.
“I put myself in his family’s shoes, and imagine the news that they were getting that night was a whole lot worse than the information that my family had just gotten, and my heart just broke at that moment,” Goudy said. “I didn’t know his name and know who he was. I just knew that he was desperate, and that he was scared. And he had my car and I just felt compassion towards him.”
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