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Standoff ends quietly

Man surrenders, is arrested after a 3-hour incident in Springville

SPRINGVILLE — A three-hour standoff between an armed man and Springville police ended peacefully Tuesday morning when the man surrendered.

"It ended well, the way we hoped," said Springville Police Lt. Dave Caron. "He is in custody and no one was injured."

John Travis Hart, 37, was arrested and booked into the Utah County Jail for investigation of illegal possession of a firearm after police found a 12-gauge, sawed-off shotgun in the house where Hart was arrested.

Hart is on parole for two convictions of possession/use of a controlled substance, a third-degree felony. He was paroled on May 4, 2004, then arrested in attempted possession of a weapon (a 2-foot wooden club) on Sept. 16, 2004. He was found guilty and ordered to serve one year in the Weber County Jail.

Police on Tuesday responded to a house at 975 S. 400 East at 8:15 a.m. Caron said Hart's girlfriend called police and said Hart was on drugs and told her he wanted to have a confrontation with police.

The Utah County interagency SWAT team arrived on the scene and surrounded the house. Caron said officers proceeded cautiously, not knowing if Hart was attempting to commit suicide by forcing police to shoot him.

"We want to avoid that situation by almost any cost, except endangering the life of a police officer," Caron said. "That said, the next thing you want to do is prevent any harm from coming to the individual. You just dread those kind of things from happening."

When they arrived, police attempted to contact neighbors in surrounding homes and tell them to stay inside, but no one was home.

SWAT teams drove a robot to the doorstep of the home about 10:30 a.m. Using a loudspeaker attached to the robot, negotiators attempted to make contact with Hart.

When he did not respond, police became concerned that he could have left the home before they arrived.

At about 11:15, police used the robot's arm to pull the curtains away from an open window. The robot then placed a camera in the window, which revealed Hart inside the home.

After seeing the camera, Hart responded to negotiators and agreed to leave the house, and came out without incident shortly after 11:30.

Caron credited the robot for helping police reach a peaceful resolution.

"(Robots) are great," he said. "They allow us to go up to house where someone is hiding, find them and make contact. The best thing about it is it allows you to keep officers out of danger."


E-mail: jtwitchell@desnews.com