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Southern Utah man shot by officers in dispute

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Michael D. Loeffel

Michael D. Loeffel

A southern Utah man who deputies say was holding a woman against her will was shot by officers after he pointed a rifle at them from close range.

Michael D. Loeffel, 37, was shot twice inside a home in Enterprise Thursday evening. His injuries were not fatal. He was being treated Friday at Dixie Regional Medical Center, according to police. The deputies were not injured.

The incident began about 7:15 p.m. when Washington County sheriff's deputies were notified of a domestic dispute happening inside a vehicle in Enterprise, said sheriff's Lt. Jake Adams.

As a deputy approached the vehicle, they recognized Loeffel, with whom they had previously had dealings, Adams said. Loeffel sped away when he saw the deputy approaching.

Loeffel stopped at his Enterprise house and both he and the woman ran inside, Adams said. He then told the deputies from his doorway that he had a gun and if they attempted to enter he would shoot them, said Adams.

The woman was seen a short time later trying to go out the door, but Loeffel was blocking her way.

"He grabbed her and pulled her back in," Adams said.

The events that came next all happened very quickly, he said.

Deputies, who feared for the woman's safety, went to the front door. They grabbed the woman and got her out of the house. Loeffel went back into the house where two of the deputies followed. Loeffel grabbed a rifle and pointed it at one of the deputies, prompting both to open fire, Adams said.

A sergeant and two deputies, all with several years experience each, were placed on standard paid administrative leave pending an investigation into the shooting.

The sheriff's office said Friday Loeffel and the woman lived together, but it was unclear if she was his wife. Alcohol was believed to be a factor.

Adams said it was the first officer-involved shooting for the sheriff's office in at least seven years.

E-mail: preavy@desnews.com