ST. GEORGE — The St. George Police Department SWAT team was called out to assist with a scene Friday morning at an apartment complex off Dixie Drive where more than 20 police units responded after a man called 911 making disturbing comments to police.
The incident started shortly after 5 a.m. when patrol officers responded to an area south of Sunset Boulevard on a report involving a man who called emergency dispatch more than once making threatening comments.
“We started looking for the subject after he called in making suicidal comments and remarks about hurting other people,” St. George Police Capt. Mike Giles told St. George News.
Officers located the suspect in the parking lot of an apartment complex on 360 North just east of Dixie Drive holding a large kitchen knife. After nearly an hour attempting to deescalate the situation, the man only became more agitated, and SWAT was called in to assist.
With SWAT on scene, the man’s behavior continued to deteriorate as he interacted “with other people at the scene,” Giles said, something which concerned authorities.
“Any attempts to talk to him to figure out what the issue was – or even to convince him to go inside – weren’t working at that point,” he said.
The suspect became more agitated and began making various threats, at which point several officers closed in on the man and took him into custody before transporting him to Dixie Regional Medical Center to be medically cleared.
Once cleared, the suspect will be booked into Purgatory Correctional Facility where he could possibly face a weapons charge associated with “a brandishing code,” Giles said.
The man will also face possible interfering with an arrest and a disorderly conduct offenses, since he created a disturbance that involved the public and then refused to comply with the officers that were attempting to give him instructions to deescalate the situation.
“Those are tentative charges we are looking at right now,” Giles said.
Once SWAT was deployed, the situation resolved quickly, which is the primary objective behind the department’s SWAT team, Giles said.
A rapid resolution is important, particularly when a disturbance or incident involves the public or takes place in a public area that can present a risk to others, such as was the case during Friday’s call.
Additionally, Giles said, it also provides additional resources to the scene, including a negotiation team that can act as a buffer to keep the public and innocent parties safe as they deal with a situation that can potentially go bad very quickly.
Moreover, SWAT brings a different set of tools to the scene that also protects the suspect since the team is able to contain an area quickly.
“The goal of SWAT is not to rush in and use force,” Giles said. “The goal is to contain, stabilize and buy time to negotiate and deescalate.”
No injuries were reported during the incident.
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