Man used peroxide to make bombs in South Jordan, police say

(Niki Chan Wylie |Special to The Tribune) A neighborhood crowd waits to see the blast in South Jordan on Friday, July 24.

Police on Monday elaborated on what ignited a standoff Friday with a man suspected of making bombs that forced the evacuation of a South Jordan neighborhood.

No one was hurt in either the shooting that preceded the standoff or when law enforcement detonated the homemade bombs near 3400 West and 10400 South. The 42-year-old man remained in the Salt Lake County jail Monday on suspicion of a variety of assault and weapons charges. He does not have a bail, and formal charges have not been filed.

Police began investigating the man July 18 — six days before the standoff. Officers were called to a Culver’s restaurant on South Jordan Parkway after he texted threats to the business owner, according to a probable cause affidavit. The man was upset at the business, which is located just south of his home, asserting “that Culver’s is harassing him and harassment is the reason mass shootings occurred.”

(Niki Chan Wylie |Special to The Tribune) Officer Jeff Petersen guards the gated entrance as a police team works on detonating explosive material found inside a home in South Jordan on Friday, July 24.

The next day, police received a call that the man “had been seen carrying an AR-style rifle around the outside of his residence,” the affidavit states, and “several gunshots” were reported around the time. Police later found evidence the man had shot out a streetlight.

The man had two protective orders against him from April 2019 and June 2019, which prohibited him from owning or possessing firearms.

In a news release Monday, police said they believed the man was experiencing mental health troubles and tried to reach out to him through a crisis intervention team.

“After several days of working toward a resolution,” the news release said, “we determined the risk to the public and the area neighboring his home outweighed any further delay in [the suspect’s] arrest.”

Police served a warrant about 11 p.m. Thursday at the man’s home, but he refused to surrender. As a West Valley City SWAT armored vehicle with eight officers inside approached the front of the home, “it came under heavy fire and was hit with numerous bullets out of the front of the house,” according to the affidavit.

Another SWAT vehicle with five officers inside approached on the west side of the house, and “it also took several bullets from a rifle.” Shots “flew over” the heads and struck near a team of officers providing security on top of a nearby residence and business.

The man later surrendered. He admitted to shooting out the streetlight “as a way of sending a message to leave him alone” and said he shot toward police “until his gun jammed, so he surrendered,” according to the affidavit.

Police discovered the man had “peroxide-based” explosives inside his home, according to a news release. Officers evacuated about 168 residences — roughly 600 residents — and over 30 businesses for about four hours Friday night. A bomb squad detonated the explosives in place.

South Jordan police Lt. Matt Pennington said the bomb squad initially calculated there were enough explosives to create a 1,000-foot blast radius. The technicians spent much of Friday on the telephone with instructors at a bomb squad academy in Virginia.

“My understanding was they were on the phone with all the expert instructors back there,” Pennington said.

Police said most of the bomb damage was contained to the man’s home. There was minor damage to a home to the east.