BREAKING: St. George carjacking leads to multiagency police shootout; police K-9 and suspect shot

ST. GEORGE — A carjacking at a St. George gas station late Tuesday night led to a police shootout in a residential neighborhood in Santa Clara that resulted a police K-9 and the carjacking suspect being shot. Both the K-9 and the suspect underwent surgery for their injuries early Wednesday morning. Their condition is unknown as this report publishes.

A carjacking at a St. George gas station late Tuesday night led to a police shootout in a residential neighborhood in Santa Clara that resulted a police K-9 and the carjacking suspect being shot, St. George, Utah, Aug. 30, 2017 | Photo by Kimberly Scott, St. George News

Authorities said the ordeal began around 10 p.m. Tuesday when officers were responding to a report of a disturbance involving a man throwing objects at the Mira Monte Sinclair Station, 386 N. Bluff St.

While officers were en route to the call, the suspect allegedly took a white truck by force, Washington County Critical Incident Task Force Investigations Director Barry Golding said.

“We’re not quite sure how that happened, how he was able to obtain that vehicle, but he basically carjacked a gentleman at the Sinclair,” Golding told St. George News following a preliminary investigation at approximately 2 a.m. Wednesday.

When the truck was reported stolen, the owner of the truck notified police that an AR-15 assault rifle was in the back seat of the truck, Golding added.

The suspect took off in the truck before crashing the vehicle up the street near the area of 1500 W. 1250 North, police said.

“The result of the crash, I think, disabled that truck to where he couldn’t drive it,” Golding said. “So then, he took a second truck, which was very similar – it was a white full-sized truck so, now, the police are looking for a white truck and just coincidentally, he happens to find another white truck.”

A carjacking at a St. George gas station late Tuesday night led to a police shootout in a residential neighborhood in Santa Clara that resulted a police K-9 and the carjacking suspect being shot, Santa Clara, Utah, Aug. 30, 2017 | Photo by Kimberly Scott, St. George News

Authorities spotted the suspect heading toward Santa Clara from St. George, but terminated their pursuit as he approached Lava Flow Drive, Golding said, adding that in high-risk situations, officers will typically terminate the pursuit.

Although officers had disengaged, the suspect continued to flee and drive recklessly, ultimately crashing the second stolen truck into the carport of a residence near 2298 Santa Clara Drive.

“He’s coming up this road, he hits a tree then he bounces off, comes over, takes out a light post and then, basically, went through a garage,” Golding said, and ends up in the backyard of the residence here.”

A citizen called police to report that a white truck had crashed into a Santa Clara home, officials said.

“Police show up, the adult male is still in the truck. They try to talk to him and they try to negotiate him out of the truck. In the process, a K-9 was deployed. The K-9 got into the vehicle at which point the adult male subject shot the K-9. At that point, multiple officers from multiple agencies fired upon (the vehicle) and they struck him.”

During the shootout, eight police officers fired weapons from three different agencies including four St. George Police officers, two Washington County Sheriff’s deputies and two Santa Clara officers, Golding said.

A carjacking at a St. George gas station late Tuesday night led to a police shootout in a residential neighborhood in Santa Clara that resulted a police K-9 and the carjacking suspect being shot Santa Clara, Utah, Aug. 30, 2017 | Photo by Michael Durrant, St. George News

“Once he shot the dog, they saw the muzzle flash and they perceived a deadly force threat so, they engaged him,” Golding added.

Witnesses reported hearing between 30-40 gunshots, which Golding confirmed was possible.

“At this point,” Golding said, “I’m not aware of any other shots that (the suspect) fired other than the dog.”

That bullet hit Washington County Sheriff’s Deputy K-9 Tess in the jaw, officials said. The K-9 was taken to an expert in Las Vegas to undergo treatment.

“The dog, from my understanding, it’s still alive,” Golding said.

The Sheriff’s Office said it will discuss the condition of the K-9 at a press conference Wednesday morning.

The suspect, whose name was not immediately released, was transported to Dixie Regional Medical Center in St. George to undergo surgery for multiple gunshots to the lower-half of his body, Golding said, noting that the man’s condition was unknown to him.

As this report publishes, the man’s identity had not been released but Golding said the man is believed to be from Hurricane and in his 50s.

The Washington County Critical Incident Task force is an interagency team of investigators, police officers, and prosecutors tasked with investigating officer-involved shootings and other critical incidents in Washington County.

This is a developing story.

Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.

Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery.

Email: kscott@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

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

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43 Comments

  • 42214 August 30, 2017 at 10:10 am

    Pray for the K-9

  • Real Life August 30, 2017 at 10:10 am

    This is one guy who, if he dies, had it coming.

  • uselogicplease August 30, 2017 at 11:06 am

    Please stop referring to an AR15 as “an assault rifle” It’s not.

    • comments August 30, 2017 at 12:42 pm

      I own one. It’s def and assault rifle.

      And is this gonna be the new normal for Mayberry, UT? Carjackings?

      • RevWillieG August 30, 2017 at 2:48 pm

        Uh, no it’s not unless it’s fully automatic. My guess is yours isn’t

        • comments August 30, 2017 at 6:05 pm

          Meh, it’s much more effective as a semi-auto weapon. It’s a platform the was designed purely for war, unless u think it a good deer huntin’ rifle? lol @ u nutters. See ‘bender’s gun fetishist remark below. he’s right on the money

      • vintagehippie August 31, 2017 at 3:00 am

        If you think it is an “Assault Rifle” you should not own it. Turn it over to the police immediately !

    • RealMcCoy August 30, 2017 at 1:01 pm

      I concur!
      Maybe they should start labeling the things that were really ‘assaulting’:
      “The assault suspect carjacked an assault truck that happened to have a firearm in the backseat but really has nothing else to do with this story. He then drove the assault truck into something causing it to wreck. He then stole another assault truck into Santa Clara, where he then began a serial assault on a tree, a lightpost, and then a carport. Police then deployed an assault dog, who then entered the assault truck and assaulted the assault suspect, and was then assaulted by the assault suspect. Assault officers then sired upon the assault vehicle, assaulting him.

      Persons arrested or charged are presumed injocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact, unless it is a gun, in which case it will always be pointed out as an assault weapon and considered a ‘dangerous weapon’.

      I think that about sums it up.

    • Bender August 30, 2017 at 1:09 pm

      The distinction between the AR-15 and a weapon strictly defined as an assault rifle is the lack of selective fire. This distinction matters more to gun fetishists.
      The rest of us view it as a military-style weapon that has little place being carried around regularly in the back of a personal vehicle in a civil society.

      “An armed society is a civil society” – the mantra of the of the weak old man frightened, and misinformed, of the world around him.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colt_AR-15

      • desertgirl August 30, 2017 at 5:24 pm

        When you take weapons from the citizenry the result is USSR, China, North Koreas, Cuba, a laundry list of third world countries where there is no freedom and mass starvation. Being a historian I can recommend a plethora of historical references; history books, separate historical data, modern (verified, though the flat-earthers, progressives, and conspiracy freaks will never accept facts) photos, video, newsreels, and more. I know, you really aren’t interested or think you are an expert in everything (the new fake progressive lie).

        So, if your freedom and that of your loved ones means nothing by all means stick your head in the sand or whatever place makes you feel safe and live with the false belief that YOUR government will never undermine the people. History shows otherwise.

        • Bender August 30, 2017 at 8:40 pm

          What qualifies you as a historian, if I may ask, desertgirl? Yes, please plethorisize me with your proof linking armed citizenry with freedom and prosperity.

      • comments August 30, 2017 at 6:05 pm

        +1

      • RealMcCoy August 30, 2017 at 7:28 pm

        Anyone that uses wikipedia as their source of information immediately loses any credibility. Just because you refuse to acknowledge the distiction between the two types doesn’t make it any less of a fact that there IS a distinction.
        I won’t confuse you with facts. Any believer of wikipedia is inherently averse to actual facts. However, people with your mentality and attitude towards guns are the real frightened and misinformed. It is people of your ilk that elect the uninformed, anti-gun democrats that attempt to misinform and strike fear in peoples hearts over ‘ghost guns’ that shoot ‘500 rounds a second’. Please get educated, and quickly.
        People with your gun definitions are at a loss to explain how a Ruger .22 rifle is considered ‘acceptable’, yet add a pistol grip and adjustable stock to that same rifle, and suddenly it’s an ‘assault rifle’.
        Desertgirl and RevWillie are educated. You and comments should join the crowd.

        • Bender August 31, 2017 at 12:05 pm

          I’m neither anti-gun or a democrat. I do question the rationality of a those armed to the teeth with military style weapons and and who transport them around in their vehicles on the off chance they’ll be invited to pitch in with a fire fight against ISIS. You keep on feeding your camo-clad vigilante revenge fantasies with handguns and military-style rifles and I’ll keep on questioning your sound judgement.

          • Real Life August 31, 2017 at 2:42 pm

            Exactly. Bender is right on this one.

  • 42214 August 30, 2017 at 1:20 pm

    Simple question. What does AR stand for?

  • Ric Wayman Ric Wayman August 30, 2017 at 1:45 pm

    42214: The “AR” in AR-15 stands for ArmaLite Rifle, after the company that developed it in the 1950s.See https://www.nssf.org/msr/

    • 42214 August 30, 2017 at 6:47 pm

      When I google Armalite, Brittanica says it’s a company founded in Hollywood in 1950s and manufacturers small caliber assault rifles. Guess it depends on what BS you want to believe. YouTube has a 5 minute how anyone with minimal intelligence can convert a AR-15 full auto. It’s symatics.

  • rothstar August 30, 2017 at 2:04 pm

    Stealing and wrecking the trucks is certainly a punishable offense. Without knowing any facts, I question why did the police sic the dog on the driver? What would be a reasonable response from an armed individual to an attack dog coming through the window of the vehicle you were occupying? I would have expected the carjacker to shoot the dog even if he had no intentions of other violence. Without knowing the facts, siccing the dog followed immediately by 30 to 40 shots gives the appearance that maybe some of the police wanted a gun battle. What was downrange, were there homes sucking up the extra 30+ missed rounds? Hopefully we can get more information that answers these questions.

    • St Geo August 30, 2017 at 3:20 pm

      You sound like you’re championing for the perp. The cops should have killed the SOB.

      • 417-PC August 30, 2017 at 8:46 pm

        Thank You for the most excellent comment!

      • rothstar August 31, 2017 at 10:03 am

        StGeo, not championing for the perp as I stated at the beginning of my comment. That being said, do our laws indicate the death penalty for carjacking? In my judgement, firing 30 to 40 rounds at someone is trying to kill the SOB, just remarkably poor shooting. With the dog in the truck, how do we know that it wasn’t friendly fire that injured the K9?

    • DRT August 30, 2017 at 4:22 pm

      You question why the cops sent in the K-9. Do you suppose, that just maybe, there is the slightest chance, that they had tried to talk the perp out of the truck, with no success? Do you think there is just the slight chance, that having the dog sent in, would make the perp decided to give up without a fight?
      Do you think that there is even a minuscule chance, that since this individual had already proven his violent tendencies, (if you even bothered to read the story, and saw where he had been chunking rocks at cars, then hijacked a vehicle,) the cops were attempting to avert a use of deadly force? Do you believe that when the perp fired the first round, that the cops should have all thrown down their weapons, and begged him not to shoot anymore.
      Furthermore, have YOU personally ever been involved in a firefight? Yeah, I didn’t think so. You are just one of the crowd that wants to sit back and point fingers at the cops over everything.
      The only reasonable part of your comment, was in questioning the number of rounds fired. But of course, since you have all of your police training from television, you fully expect one round to stop whatever is in progress.

      • Shawny August 30, 2017 at 8:29 pm

        I actually witnessed the entire episode out of my bathroom window as it was happening 10 feet from my house and a bullet flew threw my daughters bedroom striking her dresser, then hitting her father who was in the bedroom. It’s been a nightmare for us.

      • rothstar August 31, 2017 at 9:50 am

        DRT, I do suppose there is a “minuscule” chance of a high standard of care before the volley was fired, but I would hope for a little higher probability in a life or death situation–wouldn’t you? Unless new information is added to this story, the picture presented still creates the impression that sending the attack dog in provoked the first shot. The on-sight witness’ story of rounds flying through their daughters bedroom confirms my comment. I’m not defending the perpetrator, just the neighbors.

    • desertgirl August 30, 2017 at 5:26 pm

      Please, go live in NY, California or some other place where criminals are always put above victims and potential victims. And, then, hope you aren’t a victim.

    • comments August 30, 2017 at 6:09 pm

      I agree. I think they made a very wrong call siccing the dog. I think the use of attack dogs ought to be phased out in most cases. Obviously, this was a waste of a good dog.

    • ladybugavenger August 30, 2017 at 7:24 pm

      I think your comment is legitimate and in no way is standing up for the suspect. Just sayin’ since others question your comment. Your comment is just questions 😉

    • Shawny August 30, 2017 at 8:25 pm

      I thought the same thing as to why they sent the dog in. A few more hours of negotiation would have got the guy tired enough to surrender I would think. It at least would have been worth a try. Ya, my house was directly behind was hit twice and one of the bullets went through my daughters bedroom into her dresser. That was what our family dealt with all night. Kids crying in complete fear. I didn’t know what else to do but to get them out of their rooms and onto the living room floor. The K-9 was life flighted to Vegas and is recovering now back home in St. George with his handler.

  • Sapphire August 30, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    The officer had no business sending that poor dog into this situation. They knew the suspect was armed and a dog has no defense against a gun or rifle. It is so expensive to purchase and train a K-9 that more care should be involved in not putting them in an armed situation like this. They could have surrounded the suspect and waited him out… people need food and water eventually and sometimes change their minds when the booze or drugs wear off or they have time to think.

    • 42214 August 30, 2017 at 6:00 pm

      It’s obvious you’re dog lover, so am I. The dog is trained and deployed specifically for this type of situation. Better to lose a dog than an officer. It’s also a legitimate attempt to take the guy into custody and end the standoff without having to shoot him.

      • 417-PC August 30, 2017 at 8:49 pm

        YES!

      • Vincent August 31, 2017 at 11:33 pm

        Sadly the bigotry you suffer from is so overwhelming you’re expressing yourself and your OPINIONATED view as a factually basis for supporting your position in your debate, leaving you to be a Aunt Sally to the thoughts in the valley (from lacking a brain) of your skull. Your claim of it being better to lose a dog rather than a officer, is a baseless claim at best. Reason being it’s a k-9 OFFICER. You also say a better way to mitigate loss is to replacing a human with a dog assuming that’s what you were inferring. Requires a BATTLE READY mind state. Which is a influencing cause of aggressive war tactics being utilized to respond to hostile threats in the middle of urban societies from a civil police force. indicating the ANTICIPATION of demise. Causing Death/use of physical force shouldn’t be tool on the tool belt elected officials such as peace(law enforcement) officers. If you can slide a stinger into the day room through hatch at the grey bar hotel why can’t you produce a gas to administer through the same means as a bean bag or tear gas why didn’t they use those first they’ve be less costly than risking the animals life not to mention the $118,620.00 spent on initial for training a k-9 makes 5yr old Tess easily more than $250,000 investment dogs 44% more effective than a human officer after training so no way around it there was a bad situation and they chose used mob mentality for resolving it the imagery is like a modernized sense out the god father

        No excuse for that kind of action

        • 42214 September 1, 2017 at 9:07 am

          You are absolutely bat poop crazy.

  • utahdiablo August 30, 2017 at 6:27 pm

    30 – 40 shots to wound the Perp? Where was the sniper?…… Just way to many shots fired around a public place, could have been much worse, and will be unless more of a tactical response is used in the future.

    • Shawny August 30, 2017 at 8:32 pm

      I would have hoped they cared more about the people in homes lucky to be unharmed from stray bullets.

    • 417-PC August 30, 2017 at 8:55 pm

      Have you ever been a professional law enforcement officer involved in a shooting? Obviously not!

  • John August 30, 2017 at 8:11 pm

    I’m pro gun, but the jest of the story is the incident, and specifically the dog. There is a time and place to show your knowledge of firearms, this really is not it (a little class and restraint goes along way in the conversation). I hope the dog gets better soon, and too bad the perp gets to live to see another day.

  • DontTreadOnMe August 30, 2017 at 8:46 pm

    For the life of me, I can’t figure out how all of his wounds are on the lower half of his body. Anyone else puzzled?

  • Mike P. August 31, 2017 at 10:12 am

    I believe no pursuit was necessary, when the perp drove away in the stolen vehicle, he wouldn’t have gotten far before someone turned left in front of him causing another t-bone.

  • Mike P. August 31, 2017 at 10:26 am

    Also, due to all the shots fired, this also reminds me of what they call a “minor incident” in Los Angeles a few years back. There was another daily Police chase. It involved a white Chevy Suburban, a very large vehicle. When the police finally got the Suburban stopped they surrounded the vehicle. When the perp would not cooperate and made a threatening gesture the Police that were surrounding the vehicle opened fire at close range. I believe the ensuing investigation showed almost 80 shots were fired. Not ONE bullet hit the perp and what’s funny was not ONE bullet even hit the vehicle !! Not even a window. The investigators were picking shells out of surrounding buildings, trees, the ground, everything except what they were aiming at. True story.

  • asianspa September 1, 2017 at 12:43 pm

    Why are they delaying releasing the supsects name?? It is obvious they have him identified so why delay the release of the name? Do they got to check and make sure he isn’t related to a fine Southern Utah anointed good ole boy?

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