Arrest ensues after woman allegedly pulls gun on protester in St. George

Protesters demonstrate against police brutality in downtown St. George, Utah, June 4, 2020 | File photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A woman was arrested after allegedly drawing a gun during a heated exchange in the midst of a protest in downtown St. George Thursday night.

Protesters demonstrate against police brutality in downtown St. George, Utah, June 4, 2020 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

Officers in the area responded to the incident shortly before 11 p.m. in the area of Main Street and St. George Boulevard, where a protest against police brutality following the death of George Floyd was winding down. 

According to the probable cause statement filed in support of the arrest, the reporting party, a juvenile female, told police she was standing on the southwest corner of the intersection when a woman, later identified as 41-year-old Mandy Monay Staheli, pointed a firearm at her. 

Officers patrolling the area located Staheli on foot on St. George Boulevard. The suspect told police the girl yelled obscenities at her and said, “I will slap you,” which is when Staheli “removed her firearm from her waist and held it low with the muzzle pointed downward,” according to the police statement.

Staheli reportedly told officers that when the individual said, “shoot me,” she holstered the firearm and walked away. The suspect’s husband, who was with her at the time of the incident, corroborated this account to police.

The girl who reported the incident told police she was engaged in an unrelated argument with another individual when the suspect walked by. She told police that was the moment when Staheli turned toward her and pulled her firearm out of her waistline, keeping it low as she pointed it at her.

The girl told police she believed the suspect was confused and thought she was yelling at Staheli, which police say was corroborated by two witnesses who were present when the altercation took place.  

Officers viewed a video captured by a person not involved in the alleged incident, which the statement says “clearly showed the muzzle of a firearm” matching the one found on Staheli pointed at a person matching the description of the reporting party. The officer noted in the report that “their faces were not clearly visible.” 

At that point, Staheli was placed under arrest and transported to Purgatory Correctional Facility where she was booked into jail facing a potential third-degree felony aggravated assault charge.  

Mandy Monay Staheli, 41, booking photo posted in Washington County, Utah, June 5, 2020 | Photo courtesy of Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

The girl who reported Staheli to police was participating in the demonstration when the incident took place, Kristy Coop, the girl’s mother, told St. George News. 

Coop said she had accompanied her daughter that evening but had left shortly before the alleged incident took place. Her daughter, she said, remained at the demonstration with arrangements to get a ride home with friends. 

Coops’ daughter, whose name is not being released, also spoke to St. George News. She said she was in a verbal altercation with another group at the protest, and when she turned in the direction of her friend’s car to leave, she saw the suspect, “who had a gun pointed at me.” 

The girl said she yelled “shoot me,” which caught the attention of officers patrolling just a few feet away. She told police that a woman had pointed a gun at her and then walked away.

David Maycock, who was in the area at the time of the incident, told St. George News he was with Staheli and the suspect’s husband, explaining that everything was peaceful “until after the sun went down.”

As the night drew on, he said there was a group that became more aggressive. He said he was standing about a half-block away when the incident took place, and when he spoke to Staheli about it, he said “she told me she was scared.” 

Maycock also obtained a video of the incident as it unfolded between the juvenile and the suspect. The video, which was shown to St. George News, shows Staheli standing near the curb holding a handgun with the muzzle pointed toward the ground. The camera then pans around to a group of people that includes a girl who is being held back by two individuals and yelling “shoot me” multiple times in the direction of where the suspect was standing off-camera. 

The camera then pans around to show Staheli and her husband still standing near the curb. When the camera pans back over to where the group is situated, the juvenile begins posing and smiling at the camera. The video concludes with the cameraman speaking to the group about the civil rights movement.   

Staheli was released from jail after posting bond on $5,000 bail. Charges related to the incident have yet to be filed in the case, as the probable cause statement was sent to the Washington County Attorney’s Office for review.

This report is based on statements from police 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.

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

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