SALT LAKE CITY -- Accused of attacking a forest ranger and his K9, Aaron B. Jereb is charged with assault on a federal officer, and Friday afternoon the suspect was in federal court for his initial appearance.
"It's absolutely alarming," said Dave Whittekiend, Forest Supervisor at Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest.
Late Thursday night, Officer Darren Schiedel approached a car on the side of the road in Lambs Canyon. Inside was Aaron B. Jereb along with a woman in the front seat.
"When he stopped by the vehicle, he noticed some drug paraphernalia; he contacted Unified Police Department," Whittekiend said.
The officer also found meth and heroin inside the car. A narcotics detective arrived, wrote a citation, and left the scene. Schiedel was about to leave, but Jereb was having car trouble.
"When the individuals tried to leave, their vehicle wouldn't start, they asked our officer if he'd be wiling to jump-start their vehicle," Whittekiend said.
The state's complaint says as Schiedel was helping them, Jereb became hostile.
"He went after the officer, threatened the officer in some way, and I know that he got in a physical confrontation," Whittekiend said.
Complaint documents state Schiedel called for backup, but Jereb told the officer that backup would never arrive in time.
"As soon as the assault started taking place he kept his mic live and was calling for backup immediately," Whittekiend said.
Officer Schiedel had to deploy his K9 in an attempt to gain physical compliance. But Jereb attempted to strangle the dog and gouge his eyes. Then he took a stick and jabbed it into the K9's head, neck and side.
"The suspect at that point assaulted the dog and the officer, at which time the officer deployed the K9 and used Taser and pepper spray to subdue him," Whittekiend said.
But Jereb took the Taser, deploying it on the officer several times. Soon, dozens of officers were on scene and arrested Jereb. The officer and K9 suffered injuries but are back at work Friday.
"It's a scary situation, but he's back doing his job," Whittekiend said.
As for Jereb, he is in jail, facing a maximum of 20 years in prison and a fine up to $250,000.
He will be back in federal court Monday for a detention hearing.