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Gangster is arrested after 7-hour standoff

MIDVALE — A documented gang member who allegedly assaulted his former girlfriend and then held another person hostage was arrested early Monday following a seven-hour standoff.

The incident began about 7:30 p.m. Sunday when a 24-year-old man went uninvited to an apartment near 7400 South and 900 East where his former girlfriend was, said Midvale Police Chief Assistant Chief Tony Mason.

The man barged into the apartment, took away the phone as she dialed 911 and assaulted the woman and another person in the apartment, said Midvale police Sgt. Steve Shreeve.

The former boyfriend ran out of the apartment when he feared police were coming and spotted a man who was just getting home at a nearby apartment. He confronted the man and went with him inside.

"He held him at bay for 45 minutes," Mason said. "The guy felt like his life was in jeopardy and he was being held hostage."

After nearly an hour, the man went into the bathroom for an unknown reason. That's when the tenant of the apartment ran out the door and bumped into an officer who was looking for the man.

Investigators knew the man they were looking for had tens of thousands of dollars in warrants out for his arrest for assault and domestic violence and was a documented gang member, Shreeve said.

SWAT teams from Midvale and Murray surrounded the apartment and, after failing to make contact with the man, decided to go inside about 2:30 a.m. Monday.

A police K9 found the man hiding under a bathroom cabinet, but he tried to fight off the dog. Following a brief struggle with the K9, the man was taken into custody.

He was given stitches for bite injuries to his arm, shoulder and leg at a local hospital.

Penisiman Halai was booked into the Salt Lake County for investigation of two counts of aggravated burglary, kidnapping, assault, interrupting a 911 call, criminal mischief and injuring a police service animal.


E-mail: preavy@desnews.com