OREM — Prosecutors say an Orem woman was expected to testify against the man police believe shot her to death Monday before taking his own life during a standoff with a SWAT team.
David Brigham Driscoll was supposed to be in court Tuesday for a preliminary hearing on four counts of aggravated sex abuse of a child, all first-degree felonies that carry mandatory prison sentences. Instead of introducing evidence against the Army veteran, though, Utah County prosecutor Ryan McBride asked the judge to dismiss the case due to Driscoll's death.
Late Tuesday, McBride said he "absolutely" planned to call Brittany Engstrom as a witness against Driscoll had the case gone to trial.
"She was not a witness to the allegations in the sex abuse case but was aware of the circumstances surrounding the case," McBride said.
Engstrom's body was found Monday afternoon, several hours after Orem police were first called to her apartment on a report that a man and woman were fighting.
During their first visit, police found nothing amiss and no one answered the apartment door, so officers left, according to Orem Police Lt. Craig Martinez. One officer returned two more times, finding the apartment door unlocked on his third visit, Martinez said.
"That's when we discovered a female with multiple gunshot wounds deceased in the home," he said.
Officers began looking for Driscoll, hoping to question him about Engstrom's death. They found him in the parking lot of the Ranches Golf Club in Eagle Mountain after pinging the location of his cellphone, according to Utah County Sheriff's Sgt. Spencer Cannon.
Driscoll, 37, apparently told a family member he would surrender to sheriff's deputies in Eagle Mountain. Instead, he barricaded himself inside his car and threatened suicide, Cannon said.
Driscoll didn't make any threats to officers, but he said he would kill himself, the sergeant said. Driscoll reportedly spoke with a police negotiator for about two hours and said multiple times he planned to surrender. He also spoke over the phone with a family member during the standoff, according to Cannon.
Two hours after the standoff began, Driscoll took his own life when two police cars approached his vehicle to shine their headlights on him and keep him in sight as the sun went down, Cannon said.
Investigators were concerned Driscoll, whom Cannon said had an extensive military history, might have more guns in the vehicle or possibly explosives. On Tuesday, Cannon said a search of the vehicle only turned up one firearm.
Capt. Ryan Sutherland with the Utah National Guard confirmed that Driscoll served in the Guard from 2006 to 2012, when he received an honorable discharge. Driscoll was never deployed during his time with the Guard, Sutherland said.
Prior to joining the Guard, Driscoll served in the Army from 1999 to 2005, according to Sutherland, who did not have any additional information about Driscoll's active duty service. An effort to obtain that information from Army Human Resources Command in Fort Knox, Kentucky, was unsuccessful Tuesday.
Aside from the felony case that was pending at the time of his death, Driscoll has no other significant criminal history in Utah, according to court records.
Engstrom, who turned 27 on Dec. 12, was once engaged to Driscoll, according to one of her former co-workers, who asked not to be identified. Her daughters are staying with relatives, and police do not believe they witnessed their mother's death, Martinez said.
Autopsies were expected to be performed Tuesday on both Engstrom and Driscoll. Investigators were also working to speak with members of Driscoll's family, according to Cannon, who said it is possible the pending preliminary hearing may have led to Monday's tragedy.
"A hearing would bring up all the testimonies (of the alleged victims)," Cannon said. "(Driscoll) may have cracked under the pressure of hearing that kind of stuff."