One person was arrested at the Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Mission near Liberty Park early Wednesday after he walked into a livestreaming devotional and began yelling at and threatening people inside.
Unified Police said the man is suspected of firing shots at a home in Salt Lake County and a convenience store near Wasatch Boulevard and 3900 South, then at a Maceys grocery store near 4500 South before he was arrested outside the Hindu religious building and yoga studio. Police spokesperson Melody Cutler said the man was reported to have fired shots into the air and out of his car window.
Cutler said the man arrested knew the homeowner in Salt Lake County, and that the homeowner also owned the yoga studio. The suspect was a former member of the studio, she said.
The man had recently become “aggressive” with some of the other people at the yoga studio and was asked not to come back, Cutler said. “That’s when all this unfolded today.”
No one hit by gunfire, police say
A swarm of police officers descended on the studio near 700 East between 700 and 800 South around 9 a.m., after employees told the owner that the man had arrived and others called police.
Officers found the suspect inside his car outside of the studio and took him into custody around 9:30 a.m.
Cutler said no one was hit by gunfire, but said the man got into a “physical altercation” with the yoga studio employees and one suffered minor injuries. A few people could be seen waiting outside the studio as police cleared the building.
Police blocked off traffic along all six lanes of 700 East Wednesday morning, as unmarked police vehicles arrived from the south to join multiple marked vehicles already at the scene.
About a dozen officers stood outside the studio holding rifles. Many later went inside to search the building after the suspect was arrested.
After the building was cleared, police said that there was no longer a threat to the public.
Part of ordeal was livestreamed to Facebook
The studio and mission is home to the Salt Lake City branch of the multi-national Bhakti Yoga Society, according to the group’s Facebook page.
A woman was livestreaming from the studio to the group’s Facebook page when a man apparently entered the room about 13 minutes into the video, which was later removed from the page.
Just before he apparently enters, the woman can be heard saying, “Uh oh,” and looking out of frame. She then quietly says, “should have locked the door,” returning briefly to the devotional before stopping again shortly after and greeting the man by saying, “Morning.”
“Are you still pretending or what?” the voice of the man she greeted asks.
“Yeah, I’m still pretending,” she said, seemingly brushing him off.
Moments later, her face shifts in apparent shock as the man nears the camera and covers or knocks it over, obstructing its view. The rest of the hour-and-16-minute video is obscured, but audio can be heard.
“Who the f*** do you people think you are?” the man yells. “What the f*** are you protecting?”
He alludes to having “shot up” another person’s home before arriving at the studio. He asks, “Is the Internet running? Is the whole f****** world watching?”
After about six minutes of yelling, the man apparently leaves the building, and the people originally inside can be heard leaving the front entrance area, retreating further into the studio. Just before they retreat, one woman can be heard saying the man who left spit on her.
About 50 minutes into the video, police could be heard entering the building, telling those inside to exit, then clearing the studio.
The man arrested had not been formally charged as of Wednesday evening. Police continue to investigate.