‘They looked like they were going to war’; SWAT descends on sleepy St. George neighborhoods

Stock image | Photo by Moxe/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Two men were arrested after SWAT teams surrounded homes in St. George early Friday morning.

At approximately 2:30 a.m., neighbors were startled out of their beds after units from the St. George Police Department surrounded a home on the 2200 West block of 390 North with flashing lights and several unmarked vehicles.

Neighbor Carol Huebner told St. George News her family was woken by a large bang outside their house. At first, she thought it was a garbage truck making noise, but after realizing it wasn’t yet trash pickup day, she wondered if somebody had shot a gun, given how loud it was. After peering out the window, she said it looked like a “really big deal.”

“I could see the police lights and there was a lot of traffic in front of that house … a lot of police cars” she said.

Huebner said it was startling to see so much action in her normally “boring” neighborhood. She heard someone repeatedly shouting out commands over a loudspeaker, such as “we’ve got you surrounded” and “we need you to come out.”

“It wasn’t one guy — it was a bunch of guys in full body armor,” she said, describing the police presence. “They looked like they were going to war. It was a really big deal because they had a ton of people involved and all their gear.”

St. George Police Officer Tiffany Atkin told St. George News officers were called out to execute multiple search warrants after guns were reported stolen from the local C-A-L Ranch store. St. George Police SWAT responded to help serve the warrants because of the firearms involved.

Huebner said a command center was set up on a nearby street and several officers flanked both sides of a tactical response vehicle “that looked like a tank,” awaiting a response from whomever was held up inside. Soon after, and without any major incident that she could see, Huebner said vehicles began peeling away from the scene, returning her street to its normal tranquility.

After responding to the address on 390 North, police made a subsequent stop at an address on Shadow Point Drive, just off Valley View Drive, at approximately 4:30 a.m.

Shadow Point Drive in St. George, Utah, Jan. 24, 2020 | Photo by Joseph Witham, St. George News

Ultimately, police say multiple firearms were recovered and two men were arrested.

“There were no major issues, and we want to acknowledge the ATF’s assistance in the investigation,” Atkin said.

Brian L. Visser was booked into Purgatory Correctional Facility on multiple charges, including one third-degree felony count of burglary of a non-dwelling, one class B misdemeanor count of criminal mischief, one third-degree felony count of possessing a firearm, and 19 second-degree felony counts of theft of a firearm.

Phillip Kiser was booked for nine third-degree felony counts of illegally possessing a firearm, one class B misdemeanor count of drug possession, three class A misdemeanor counts of drug possession, two second-degree felony counts of drug possession with intent to distribute, and one third-degree felony count of drug possession with intent to distribute.

“This kind of thing doesn’t happen, never,” Huebner said of her otherwise sleepy neighborhood. “It was odd.”

Atkin said the investigation is ongoing and offered no further information.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.


Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!