WEST JORDAN — A man was arrested for investigation of attempted murder over the weekend in an incident that had the potential to turn into a domestic violence-related murder-suicide.
But West Jordan police apprehended the man using a risk assessment protocol for domestic violence cases. Officers at the scene determined the man was a high risk and needed to be in jail, according to a Salt Lake County Jail report.
Cesar Augusto Ugas, 22, was arrested after police say he threatened a woman and himself with a knife.
On Friday, Ugas jumped into a vehicle being driven by a woman who had a temporary restraining order against him, the report states. After demanding that the woman drive, the two stopped at a West Jordan park.
Once parked, Ugas took out a knife and threatened to kill himself, according to the report. The woman attempted to stop Ugas, prompting him to swing the weapon at her face and stomach," according to the report.
As the two struggled over the knife, Ugas punched the woman, the jail report states.
The woman was able to escape from the car unharmed. But Ugas continued his rampage in the vehicle, causing more than $5,000 in damage, according to the report.
Police said Ugas was not cooperative when confronted, leading officers to use pepper spray to arrest him, the report states.
Officers at the scene then gave Ugas a domestic violence risk assessment. The result was the woman was in "high danger," the report states, and Ugas was taken to jail.
West Jordan Police Sgt. Joe Monson praised the officers for using proper protocol in dealing with the domestic violence situation.
The Danger Assessment system and programs like it are used by police agencies across the state when dealing with domestic violence situations. The assessment asks victims 19 yes-or-no questions that are designed to gauge, among other things, the risk that the abuse could lead to homicide.
Another common assessment given by police is the Lethality Assessment. That test, derived from the Danger Assessment system, asks 11 questions more specific to homicide risk.
In the West Jordan case, police used the Lethality Assessment, according to the jail report.
Risk assessments made headlines earlier this year following a string of domestic-related murder-suicides.
• June 6 — Memorez Rackley, 39, and her 6-year-old son, Jase, were shot and killed in their Sandy neighborhood shortly after Rackley had picked up her children from school. Jeremy Patterson, 32, who had been harassing and sending threatening messages to Rackley, shot and killed himself after shooting four people. He and Rackley had dated, but she ended the relationship a few days before she was killed.
• June 22 — Fransiska Dastrup, 49, rammed her car into 47-year-old Richelle Horsley's vehicle, got out and shot her multiple times before running to an alley around the corner and fatally shooting herself. Dastrup was in the process of moving out of Horsley's residence. Horsley had taken a protective order out against Dastrup.
• June 28 — Jill Lloyd, 36, was shot and killed by Andrew Larson, police said, while she was sitting in her car at the intersection of 7800 South and 2700 West on her way to work. Larson, 33, was later found dead with a self-inflicted gunshot wound in Tooele County.
According to court records, a woman filed for a restraining order against Ugas on Aug. 1. She also filed for one in 2016, according to court records.
Ugas took a plea in abeyance to assault, a class B misdemeanor, in a domestic-violence related case in 2016.
The Utah Domestic Violence Coalition operates a confidential statewide, 24-hour domestic abuse hotline at 800-897-LINK (5465). Resources are also available online at udvc.org. The statewide child abuse and neglect hotline is 855-323-DCFS (3237).