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Police: Man stabbed mother, wielded ax when officers arrived

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Posted at 10:26 AM, May 16, 2014
and last updated 2014-05-16 13:55:16-04

KEARNS, Utah -- Unified Police arrested a man Friday morning after he allegedly stabbed his mother and took her and another person hostage in a Kearns home.

Police said the incident began around 5:30 at 5586 S 5720 W.

"What we're piecing together is what appears to be a mentally ill young man has returned home and assaulted whom we believe to be a family member here, viciously assaulted, and then taken them essentially hostage in the home," said Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder. "It appears that the victim here was [...] preparing to leave for work and was confronted and assaulted as she got into her car."

According to Det. Jared Richards, Unified Police Department, the victim was the suspect's mother. Officials said the suspect had been asked to leave the home a few weeks ago, and they said he returned Friday morning uninvited and bearing weapons.

Officials said the man beat, stabbed and slashed at the woman for about three hours before someone inside the home was able to call 911.

Police said they were first notified of a domestic disturbance around 8:45. Officers were already in the area and were able to respond quickly, Winder said.

When police arrived at the scene, the suspect, 39-year-old John Winter, was wielding an ax, Winder said.

"The fortunate piece is that they were able to take the individual into custody by use of our tasers, so we avoided a deadly force situation, but it is a very dynamic and violent scene," Winder said. "Both our officers and neighboring witnesses indicate that as they confronted him and told him to drop the weapon, he was actually telling our officers to drop theirs."

According to a press release from the Unified Police Department, the man had to be hit with a stun gun three times, as the first two uses of the stun gun were not effective in subduing him.

At some point Friday morning, the suspect also sustained injuries requiring hospitalization.

Winter and his mother were taken to different hospitals for treatment. The mother is in stable condition and is expected to recover. Officials stated in a press release she sustained serious injuries that included a laceration on the front of her neck.  She was later identified by authorities as 60-year-old Edna Hakala.

Winter was booked into the Salt Lake County Metro Jail once he was released from the hospital, Richards said.

A press release from the Unified Police Department indicates he faces the following charges: attempted homicide, aggravated kidnapping, assault on a police officer, interference with an arresting officer and communication device damage or interruption.