Police: Man charged after attempting to carjack family using box cutter at local park

Stock image | St. George News

ST. GEORGE — An Ivins man appeared in court Friday after police responded to a reported carjacking at a park near the old airport in which the suspect allegedly threatened a family while attempting to steal their vehicle.

Tyson Gillespie, 35, appeared before District Judge Eric Ludlow Friday on multiple charges, including second-degree felony theft, as well as three misdemeanor charges: interfering with an arrest and possession of paraphernalia and a controlled substance. 

The charges stem from an incident reported shortly after 6 p.m. on Thursday when officers were dispatched to a call involving a possible carjacking at Black Hill View Park on the corner of Airport Road and South Donlee Drive in St. George, according to the probable cause statement filed in support of Gillespie’s arrest. 

The 911 caller reported that a man, later identified as Gillespie, threatened the caller with a box cutter as he attempted to steal the family’s vehicle. 

Officers were also advised that the 911 caller was “standing in the middle of the park in case he needs to defend his family,” the officer noted in the statement, adding the act showed that “the victim was truly in fear for his and his family’s safety.” 

Tyson Gillespie, 35, of Ivins, booking photo taken in Washington County, Utah, June 4, 2020 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

Officers arrived to find the suspect standing near the victims, who then started walking away once he saw police.

While speaking to the suspect, the officer allegedly noticed a knife in his front pocket, which is when the officer ordered him to place his hands on his head while he recovered the knife, which the suspect allegedly refused to do. 

The officer allegedly watched as Gillespie continued “reaching down toward the knife in his pocket.” Once the suspect was physically restrained and handcuffed, the officer was able to retrieve the knife from his pocket. 

The family told police the suspect made numerous comments about killing people and then demanded they give him their car, and when they told him “No,” he said he would “use force if needed” to take the vehicle, threats the family took seriously, according to the report. 

When asked, the suspect refused to speak to the officers. During a search of the suspect, officers allegedly found a pipe containing a white crystal-like substance in his front pocket that was consistent with methamphetamine, along with a small Ziploc bag that also contained a white substance that was located during a secondary search by corrections officers at the jail during the booking process.  

The suspect remains in custody on $13,900 bail. 

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

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