A Gulf war veteran believed to be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder was peacefully taken into custody when a SWAT team ended a standoff of several hours Monday night by forcibly entering his Pleasant Grove home.
Pleasant Grove Police Chief Mike Smith said the 40-year-old man was taken to a mental health facility for evaluation. While police had been told earlier that gunshots were heard inside the man’s home in the area of 400 North and 300 East, no shots were exchanged between him and law enforcement officers who surrounded the residence about 5:30 p.m. Monday.
"His parents had come home, pulled into the driveway and heard [gunfire] from inside. When they entered the home, they smelled gun powder and found their son disoriented and impaired, out of control," Smith said. "They managed to get a handgun away from him and tried to hide it from him, but when he started punching holes in the wall they called police."
Officers arrived and quickly evacuated the parents, along with nearby homes as they set up a containment perimeter. "We learned he had access to a lot of weapons, so the decision was made to call in the Utah County Metro SWAT Team," Smith said.
SWAT negotiators attempted to contact the suspect by bullhorn from outside, and when that failed, broke a bedroom window.
"That seemed to get him moving," Smith said, adding that the man heard SWAT officers’ demands to surrender. The man was taken into custody without further incident as he came down the stairs outside.
Police said they found and confiscated a small arsenal inside the home, including handguns, hunting and military assault style rifles and shotguns. "They had been in a gun safe, but he knew the combination. There was a lot of ammo and a lot of that was out, and he had been going through it," Smith said.
When officers arrested him, the man referred to his military service in the Gulf War and repeatedly told them, "I’m done, I’m done," Smith said.
Whether the man will face criminal charges remained uncertain, but Smith said his heart goes out to the man and his family.
"These are the worst kind of calls. I hate these," Smith said. "We have individuals like this who we sent out to defend our country and fight for freedom and now, as police officers, we are having to take them out of their homes due to the trauma they’ve experienced."
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