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Man in custody after attempt to run over officer prompts SWAT response in Salt Lake City

Posted at 7:43 AM, Sep 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-06 13:20:07-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- A suspect is in custody after SWAT responded to an apartment complex in Salt Lake City Thursday morning.

Police were looking for a man they say tried to run over an officer while fleeing from a gang unit, and SWAT ultimately responded to an apartment complex near 700 South and 300 East.

Things began in Salt Lake City around 2 a.m. when officers were observing a home near 1900 South and 200 East and looking for a wanted person. During that time they saw a vehicle with stolen license plates park in the driveway and two people inside the home went out to the car.

Police approached at that time to speak to the pair, but they got inside the car and that's when police say things took a frightening turn.

"The driver jumped in his vehicle and actually threw the vehicle in reverse, rammed our police car, and then the suspect attempted to swerve and hit one of our police officers," Det. Robert Ungricht said. "...Now we've gone from a stolen license plate to now an aggravated assault on a police officer, which we take very seriously."

Police pursued the vehicle to the apartment complex, where the driver and a female passenger got out and fled. Police found the woman and say they later learned the driver, Valentine James Malaki, had returned to a nearby apartment.

Malaki is a known gang member who has a history of carrying weapons, police say, so SWAT responded to the scene.

Malaki was eventually arrested without further incident and no injuries were reported in connection with his flight or the ensuing arrest.

The man was booked into jail facing counts of aggravated assault, fleeing from police and drug charges. Malaki also has at least one outstanding warrant.

Police did not elaborate on the identity of the wanted person at the center of the search that sparked Thursday's incident.