Man with gun surrenders peacefully after SWAT responds in West Valley City

Posted at 5:39 PM, Nov 07, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-07 23:50:14-05

WEST VALLEY CITY -- Some residents living in a West Valley City mobile home park were evacuated Saturday evening as police, including SWAT personnel, responded to a call about a man with a gun.

A man living inside Silo Farms had isolated himself inside his house with a shotgun, threatening to commit suicide.

"We're scared to death," said neighbor Dianne Robinson. "Especially when you're a single parent and you live by yourself with your daughter."

That's how one neighbor described the SWAT standoff that took place on her street around 4 p.m. Saturday. According to police, a military veteran in his 50s got into a verbal argument with his girlfriend, which lead him to grab his shotgun and threaten to kill himself. The girlfriend got out of the house and called 911.

"Well you can imagine what goes through my mind, I mean he can either take his own life or he can break out and take all of our lives--you never know," Robinson said. "You definitely know he's not playing with a full deck of cards."

Six houses were evacuated while police negotiated with the suspect, who was found in the back yard with the gun.

"The goal here is to save lives, not take them: that is the whole strategy here behind contain and negotiate," said West Valley City Police Chief Lee Russo.

While police tried to reason with the gunman, a neighbor across the street spoke with FOX 13 News over the phone.

"Now there are just cops running everywhere with their guns out, and I really don't know what's going on," said Randy Delullo.

Delullo said police came to his door and told him to stay put.

"They just said, 'stay in the house' because they weren't sure what was going to happen and they didn't want any stray bullets going anywhere," Delullo said.

The incident lasted about two hours, before police were able to convince the gunman to surrender peacefully.

"Building that rapport and deescalating the emotions that are involved, giving time for rational thought to come back, it's very difficult, very stressful for the investigators, and we're just fortunate more often than not it works out," Russo said.

The man involved in this case was taken to the hospital for a mental health evaluation. He is not facing any criminal charges at this time.