Man attempts to enter residence; SWAT responds in force

The St. George Police Department’s SWAT team mobilizes early Friday morning for an incident in the northwest area of St. George, Utah, July 21, 2017 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — One man is in custody after a call to 911 reporting that a man was allegedly trying to open a resident’s door triggered a large police response in the early morning hours Friday.

Shortly after 6 a.m. the St. George Police Department’s SWAT team responded to the report of a man, later identified as Michael Welti Sanchez of Rockville, allegedly attempting to gain entry into an individual’s home in the area of North 500 West, and one hour later the man was on his way to jail.

A family member who spoke with St. George News on condition of anonymity said the resident called him during the incident asking him to call 911. The resident told him, he said, it all started just after 4 a.m. when he left home to go walking and noticed Sanchez sleeping on a patio chair in his front yard. The resident decided to let him sleep since he wasn’t bothering anyone. But when he returned shortly before 6 a.m. he found Sanchez asleep on his front porch. The resident was able to go around him and enter his residence.

An alleged intruder is apprehended when the St. George Police Department’s SWAT team mobilizes early Friday morning in the northwest area of St. George, Utah, July 21, 2017 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

Once inside, the resident said he locked the door, peered out the window and noticed a gun on the ground near Sanchez, the family member said. It was then the resident called him and he called 911.

Others of the resident’s family made their way to the residence from their home in the Green Valley area while police mobilized the department’s SWAT team and coordinated with officers en route to the residence.

Meanwhile, the family member said, the resident again called him, this time saying Sanchez was trying to get into his home by banging on the door and yelling to be let in.

Multiple family members began to arrive and began looking around for officers not realizing that multiple officers were already in place and were assessing the situation, Kahililani Corpus, the resident’s granddaughter, said.

Officers were dispatched to the area and were soon followed by SWAT and negotiators, police spokesperson Lona Trombley said, “due to the immediate danger to the public and crimes committed.”

The St. George Police Department’s SWAT team leaves after man is apprehended Friday during an early morning incident in St. George, Utah, July 21, 2017 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

Police cleared all bystanders and family members from the area and evacuated the 6-unit apartment complex where the resident’s home was located.

Several minutes later Sanchez was taken into custody by police.

Friday’s incident actually began in Rockville on Thursday, Trombley said. Sanchez’s family contacted the Springdale/Zion Department of Public Safety reporting several concerning statements Sanchez made. Sanchez’s family also voiced their concern that he might attempt to harm himself or others, Trombley said, and were concerned for his safety.

Springdale/Zion Police then notified the St. George Police Department of the situation, advising that Sanchez was armed with a handgun.

“They contacted us out of concern for him and for the safety of our officers,” Trombley said.

The information was released to officers to make them aware of the situation, Trombley said, but not wanting to escalate the situation further and with no crimes committed, the department took no further action at that time … until Friday morning when the reports came in of Sanchez asleep on the St. George resident’s porch, then attempting to “open the door to their home.”

“The caller also reported seeing a handgun near the sleeping man,” Trombley said. 

Michael Welti Sanchez of Rockville, Utah, booking photo posted July 21, 2017 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

SWAT is used in these types of situations for multiple reasons, but keeping the community and their officers safe is “first and foremost,” Trombley said. Secondly, there are benefits to utilizing a heavy police presence, she said, which are directly linked to safety as well.

“It is also a show of force,” she said, “as it has been proven that volatile situations met with a show of force de-escalate quickly, with little or no confrontation.

“This proved true when Michael Sanchez was taken into custody without incident with no injury to citizens, officers, or to Mr. Sanchez.”

Corpus said the incident was handled quietly and quickly, and the family was updated by an undercover officer who explained the situation to them once Sanchez was in custody. 

“I’m just very grateful that the St. George Police Department was able to help us, and for the way they handled this situation,” Corpus said. Neither the resident nor his family knew Sanchez, she said.

Sanchez was later transported and booked into Purgatory Correctional Facility on charges including intoxication, a class C misdemeanor, trespass of a non dwelling, a class B misdemeanor, and disorderly conduct, an infraction, according to Washington County Sheriff’s Office booking records. Subsequently, he was also placed on a 72-hour hold for probation violation pending hearing.

This report is based on statements from police and witnesses at the scene and may not contain the full scope of findings. Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.

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Email: cblowers@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

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9 Comments

  • DoYourHomework July 21, 2017 at 10:54 pm

    You should get the “suspects” side of the story before you publish these type of stories. Let the parties have a trial or get the facts on the record before repeating one side to the public. It’s just glorifying one parties account. I’m not saying this guy was right or wrong. Innocent till proven guilty use to be the way in this country..

    • LocalDad July 23, 2017 at 10:27 am

      Also, the source. I’m just putting this theory out there, but they guy who left the house works with swat in some way. SWAT has been getting a bad rap, seems all they do is go after pot and people are getting smarter about that, they don’t really care about it anymore. It’s been around since Jesus walked the earth and it’s killed no one: ever. So the vict walks out sees the dude on his porch and arranges for swat right then… Walking at 4 am, he’s a judge or lawyer or office administrator because he didn’t wake up to go walking before 8 hours of ditch digging, judging by the show of force, I’m guessing someone in law enforcement. So naturally they took this opportunity, paid for by us, to show us, they don’t just show this kind of force for non violent crime. Here’s another story, Michael Welti Sanchez probably hasn’t been arraigned yet. The jail will claim he’s being held for probation violation so the arraignment is not needed. His right to a speedy trial is not necessary! And that’s true if Michael Welti Sanchez can’t afford a real attorney… Close?

  • youcandoit July 22, 2017 at 12:12 am

    Crime is getting worse and worse. People getting held at knife point at Wal-Mart weirdos trying to get in your home. My renters insurance isn’t enough I had to get security cameras ugh I’m on a fixed income. Seems as though it doesn’t matter where you live in St George you are at risk. Thank you ever so much St George police officers for keeping us safe.

  • JOSH DALTON July 22, 2017 at 7:36 am

    I can tell you one thing…I AM TIRED OF SEEING THE SAME PEOPLE IN THE BOOKINGS EVERY WEEK! There are to many habitual offenders in this town. Its the same “riff raff” over and over again reeking havoc in our town. My brother was one of these folks, he was exiled from Saint George 10yrs ago. The judge said he needed to leave Saint George or go to prison. Of course my brother chose to leave. Now he is no longer a methhead! The court system needs to start really cracking down on these folks by handing out stricter sentencing and longer rehab stays so that these folks get some help! Drug Court is a bloody joke! This guy is really lucky he did not loose his life! GO FALCONS!

  • fubar July 22, 2017 at 12:41 pm

    Ha ha ha, yeah go get his side………..

  • Mike Carter July 22, 2017 at 2:26 pm

    You know what I’m tired of seeing…. these disgusting ads about skin, or fungus, or some other disease I have to pass by in order to comment on a story at the bottom of the page, now I forgot my comment for this stupid story, geez.

    • ladybugavenger July 22, 2017 at 5:44 pm

      HaHa! Thats some funny stuff right there

  • Icomments2 July 22, 2017 at 9:31 pm

    I don’t quite think they needed the SWAT team!!! He wasn’t in the house!!! And since they already had the other cops there in position they knew exactly what they were up against!!! Just another excuse to make a mountain out of a mole hill!!!

  • Mike P. July 23, 2017 at 9:26 am

    …! Who’s house was this ? Who sends out the SWAT team for a suspicious person sleeping on the porch. I realize there has to be a bit more to this story but geeze !
    Ed. ellipsis.

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