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Dog subdues man after bounty hunters try to arrest him

SHARE Dog subdues man after bounty hunters try to arrest him

Branun McBride knew something was wrong when he heard cars revving and screaming about 5:30 p.m. in the normally quiet neighborhood where he lives with his parents.

"I looked out the window, and I saw (a man) pointing a gun at him (the driver of another car), telling him to get out of the car," McBride said Wednesday night. "I didn't know they were bail bond (agents). I thought it was just a guy trying to rob him."McBride called police, who came to the house, 1431 W. 6720 South, and eventually arrested the man the bounty hunters were after.

But not before an unusual struggle that lasted more than an hour.

West Jordan Police Lt. Bob Shoeber said they got a call from several bounty hunters from Las Vegas, who work for Statewide Bonding Co., two days ago. They said they were watching the house of the sister of a man who had skipped bail in Las Vegas.

The 31-year-old man was wanted on a $20,000 warrant for felony drug charges, Shoeber said.

About 5:30, the bounty hunters spotted their man getting into a car in the driveway. Shoeber said the bounty hunters pulled in behind the man's car and tried to block him from leaving.

"He rammed their car, and I'm assuming it was quite forceful," he said. "One of the bail bondsmen (the driver) was complaining of back pain."

A passenger in the bounty hunters' car got out after the crash with a handgun drawn and yelled at the man to get out of his vehicle. That's when McBride saw what was going on and called police.

The bounty hunter dropped his gun to his side, and the man in the other car ran inside the house. That's when police arrived.

Shoeber said police went in after the man, but he had locked himself in his sister's car, which was parked in the garage. Police tried to use the car's keys to open the doors, but the man kept pushing the door locks down.

A canine officer who was in the area had just finished training and heard the call. He went to the house to see if he could help.

It ended up being the city's police dog, Pax, who finally subdued the man.

"It would have been hard to get him out of there (without the dog)," Shoeber said. "He was really violent. An officer would have ended up getting hurt."

Even after officers got a door open and let Pax into the car, the man continued to fight. He grabbed the dog's collar and tried to choke the animal. Pax eventually subdued the man and police pulled him out of the car. Once outside, the man grabbed at an officer's metal name tag and tore his shirt, Shoeber said.

The man was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of aggravated assault (on the bounty hunters), possession of a controlled substance and assaulting a police animal, Shoeber said.

West Jordan police have witness accounts to support what the bounty hunters are telling them happened Wednesday. Shoeber said police plan to ask prosecutors to file charges against the man here and then let Las Vegas police extradite him to face the drug charges.

It is the third time police have been involved in a violent incident involving bounty hunters in Salt Lake County in six months. In the other two incidents, the bounty hunters shot the people they were attempting to arrest. Both people survived their injuries.

The first shooting in August was ruled self-defense by the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office. In the second, two local bounty hunters were charged with aggravated assault in a Midvale incident and face a preliminary hearing next month.

Shoeber said police didn't have any reason to doubt the bounty hunter's version of events.

"It always helps to have independent witnesses," he said. "We've dealt with this individual (the one they were after) before, too."

The suspect was treated for some abrasions on his hands, from the dog's teeth, but did not require hospitalization.