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Deputy slaying suspect captured
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2010, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Kanab • Scott Curley, the suspect in the slaying of a Kane County sheriff's deputy, has been captured by law enforcement officers near the southern Utah town of Kanab.

Arizona's Coconino County Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Erika Wiltenmuth said Curley was taken into custody about 1 a.m. Monday in the Lost Spring subdivision after a homeowner reported seeing a man with a rifle slung over his shoulder trying to get into his home about 12:20 a.m. In all, 17 police officers rushed to the scene and soon located Curley.

"[The caller] was awakened by his dogs barking, looked out of his window and saw [Curley]," she said. "Curley surrendered without resistance and was in possession of the rifle suspected to have been used in the murder of Deputy Brian Harris [last Thursday]."

"I don't think he [Curley] knew we were coming until we were there," said Jim Driscoll, chief deputy for the Coconino County Sheriff's Office. "Our tactics and strategy worked."

"I asked if it was it him, and before anyone could answer, he [Curley] looked up at me and said, 'Yes,'" Kane County Sheriff Lamont Smith said. "He was very exhausted mentally and physically."

He said the police at the scene were jubilant after the arrest.

"It was pretty good to see all these strong cops hugging each other," Smith said.

The Coconino County Sheriff's Office detectives are interviewing Curley in Kanab, Driscoll said.

He is expected to have an initial appearance on a charge of first-degree murder in St. George and then officials will file an extradition and prosecution warrant to send Curley to Arizona, said Driscoll.

The crime carries a possible death penalty.

"We appreciate the cooperation, vigilance and support of the law enforcement agencies, the communities of Kanab, Kane County and Fredonia," Driscoll said. "We are very pleased this difficult event has ended."

Curley's capture concludes a massive manhunt that sent more than 300 police and federal agents marching through the sagebrush, manning roadblocks, knocking on doors or flying through the air of the Arizona Strip. Before sunrise Monday, electronic road signs on the edge of Kanab that had warned motorists to not pick up hitchhikers had been reprogrammed to read "WE GOT HIM."

Resources and officers from local state and federal agencies, occupying a command center at the Kanab City Airport will now be demobilized.

"It's great," said Smith. "We can send everybody home."

Driscoll said some investigators will remain to make sure that there were no accomplices, but it appears there were not. He said a federal warrant for flight to avoid prosecution issued for Curley will likely be dropped.

Driscoll praised the cooperation, vigilance and support of the law enforcement agencies and from the communities of Kanab, Kane County and Fredonia,

"We are very pleased this difficult event has ended," said Driscoll.

Curley was found southeast of Kanab, less than a mile from where another homeowner believed they sighted Curley on Friday morning. SWAT teams manned positions on a ridge line overlooking that area for about 24 hours after that sighting but by Sunday the search zone had been expanded and the SWAT teams moved.

Kane County sheriff's officers were off-duty at the time of the arrest, but that didn't prevent them from being there for the capture.

"It surprised me when I got the call. I came here and came pretty fast, and I found my officers on scene," Smith said. "A stand down is hard thing to do when it's so close to home."

They believe that Curley was looking in the homes for food and water. The subdivision is away from high-traffic areas and is so new it does not yet appear on maps.

Smith and Driscoll agreed the peaceful arrest was the desired outcome.

"Our hope was that the pressure we kept on him would help him make a mistake," Smith said. "I don't know if this is a mistake, but I think he's very fatigued and this is how we wanted it to come down."

Brian Harris' parents received the call that Scott Curley was captured at 1 a.m. Monday.

"We were elated to hear [Curley] was captured because it brings some closure and end to all the manpower being spent on the border," said Bruce Harris, the slain deputy's father.

Bruce Harris said he is glad the search, entering its fifth day Monday, ended the way it did.

"I was afraid [Curley] might try to do to another officer what he did to Brian and the [police] would have been quicker on the trigger. I'm glad that didn't happen. The sheriff said he wanted to take him alive and that's what happened. I didn't expect it."

Bruce Harris said that he is also glad Curley was taken alive for the sake of his family.

"As parents we have feelings for how his [Curley's] parents feel," said Bruce Harris.

Bonnie Harris, Brian's mother, said she received the call from Brian's wife, Shawna.

"She said, 'They got him, call everybody in the family and let them know,'" said Bonnie Harris.

Bonnie Harris said she is also pleased that Curley was taken alive.

"I'm glad it ended without anybody else getting hurt," she said.

Brian's brother, Bert Harris, was also pleased that Curley was arrested without incident.

"It's great news, great news," Bert Harris said after receiving a call from his mother. "We're relieved, happy ... just a range of emotions."

The Curley family's pastor, Sondra Colton of Trinity Church in Fredonia, Ariz., spoke with the Curley family Monday morning.

"They are thankful. They've been thanking God," Colton said.

The congregation prayed Sunday for the Harris family and for Scott Curley's surrender or peaceful apprehension. As of 10 a.m., the Curley family had not yet spoken with Scott Curley, she said.

Bert Harris said with the capture, no one else will lose their life.

"I guess in essence he lost his life because of choices he made," said Bert Harris. " Justice will be served and he'll have to accept whatever punishment he's given."

Bruce Harris said his son's funeral arrangements are still being finalized, but it will be held in the gymnasium of Valley High School in Orderville to accommodate the numbers expected to attend.

"We expect about 1,000 cops," he said.

Sheena McFarland and Bob Mims contributed to this report. —

Funeral set for Harris

There will be a viewing for Kane County Sheriff's Deputy Brian Harris from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Valley High School auditorium in Orderville, and another viewing Friday morning from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. His funeral is set for noon Friday in the high school's gymnasium. —

What's next for Scott Curley

A murder charge against Curley has been filed in Arizona — where Harris died — but because Curley was captured in Utah, he must be extradited. Also, prosecutors in one or both states are likely to pursue additional charges against Curley.

His first hearing will be an extradition hearing Thursday at noon in Kanab in 6th District Court, according to Kane County Attorney Jim Scarth.

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