ST. GEORGE — Officers in Mesquite were kept busy Saturday while responding to a series of crimes allegedly committed over a short period of time by a Montana man who was arrested and booked into jail facing multiple felony offenses.
According to a statement released on social media by the Mesquite Police Department, a suspect later identified as 36-year-old Anthony Louis Defazio, of Whitefish Montana, was arrested Saturday afternoon in Mesquite for a series of crimes that began with the theft of a bicycle stolen from a residence on West Mesquite Boulevard.
According to authorities, Defazio rode the stolen bike to the Mesquite City Hall, where he smashed out the front windows with rocks and then forced his way into the building. For the next nine minutes the suspect allegedly vandalized artwork, broke a number of statues and destroyed several plants before exiting the building.
Portions of surveillance footage captured at the City Hall building and body camera footage can be viewed at the top of this report.
Shortly after the alleged break-in, the statement says that Mesquite Emergency Communications Center began receiving a number of phone calls from residents reporting a man on Mesquite Boulevard who was walking in the middle of the roadway with his shirt off yelling at cars and causing a traffic hazard.
Officers confronted the suspect and attempted to de-escalate the situation by trying to coax the man out of the roadway – efforts that were unsuccessful, police say, as the suspect refused to leave and continued walking in the roadway and moving through traffic still holding the pliers. Once the suspect refused to leave the roadway or drop the pliers, he was finally subdued when a taser was deployed, which caused the man to fall to the ground.
The suspect allegedly continued resisting as officers were taking him into custody, reportedly grabbed at one of the officer’s tasers during the commotion, which caused minor injuries to the officer.
An ambulance crew was dispatched to the scene to check on the suspect due to the taser being deployed, as well as the man’s erratic behavior and unknown mental state. He was then transported to the hospital for evaluation. The officer involved in the scuffle over the taser was also treated at the hospital for minor injuries and released a few hours later.
Once Defazio was released from the hospital, he was booked into the Mesquite Detention Center on five felony charges including burglary of a business, destruction of property of another, resisting a police officer, attempting to disarm a police officer and battery of an officer. He also faces two misdemeanor charges that include pedestrian fail to yield right of way and petit larceny.
Mesquite Police Sgt. Wyatt Oliver said Defazio was later transported to the Clark County Detention Center in Las Vegas where he remains in custody at this time.
Full length surveillance video and body camera footage is shown below.
Oliver said the department is actively investigating the incidents, and they have no idea when Defazio arrived in the area from Montana. Since they only came into contact with him during Saturday’s incidents, there may be other crimes or activity Defazio was involved in that have yet to come to the attention of police, Oliver said.
As such, the Mesquite Police Department is asking anyone who may have witnessed any further criminal activity involving the suspect or who may have a video recording of crimes possibly involving Defazio to contact the Mesquite Police Department at 702-346-6911.
Additionally, Oliver said, since the incident involved elevated levels of force used to contain the suspect, the officer was placed on administrative leave pending results of an internal investigation as well as a use-of-force review board, as is standard operating procedure following such incidents.
This report is based on statements from court records, police or other responders 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.
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