MILLCREEK, Utah -- One day after police say a man shot his wife and her friend, sparking a SWAT standoff in Millcreek, FOX 13 News learned police hospitalized the suspect for making suicidal threats just a week ago.
However, the mental health treatment Valentin Santarromana received in the 72 hours following his threats did not prevent the violence that broke out Saturday.
On Saturday morning, Santarromana shot his wife's friend multiple times, and one bullet severed her spine. Then he took his wife hostage and barricaded themselves inside their home before shooting her. One bullet entered her head, causing her to lose an eye.
SWAT team members then entered the home and Santarromana shot at them as well, before eventually releasing his wife and surrendering. Police later confirmed that they were at the home just a week before.
"Where he had threatened his wife and there were some suicidal talks, and when officers responded to that residence he told one of the officers that, 'I’m going to take your gun from you and make you kill me,'” said Lt. Lex Bell of the Unified Police Department. “So, in that regard, we were a little concerned for him and his own safety, and because he made the statement that sounded like he wanted to die, that we actually treated him in the hospital, and he spent the 72 hours in the hospital that he was required to do as far as seek some mental help."
Police also confirmed that Santarromana's wife filed a protective order against her estranged husband last week, but the authorities had yet to serve it.
"In this case, with... it sounded like he had determined to do what he was going to do anyway--I don’t know if a protective order would have helped her, that’s something that works when served on someone who is a law-abiding citizen and who is going to adhere to what they are asked to do by the court of law,” Bell said.
While no one has died thus far in connection with the shooting, Utah is above the national average when it comes to domestic violence homicides. The state has several hotlines and resources available to those dealing with domestic violence to offer help and to help reduce the number of such incidents, click here for details. Help is also available by calling 1-800-897-LINK (5465). The hotline is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.