clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Woman fights off man trying to steal her car with child in back, police say

Officers arrested a Duchesne High School student Thursday at gunpoint following a reported violent threat that forced the school into lockdown.
FILE - A woman fought off a man who attempted to carjack her vehicle while her 1-year-old child was still in the backseat, according to Unified police.
Stock image

MAGNA — A woman fought off a man who attempted to carjack her vehicle while her 1-year-old child was still in the back seat, police said.

Jose Cortez, 27, of Magna, was arrested Sunday for investigation of aggravated kidnapping and aggravated robbery.

About 10 a.m., a woman had just walked out of Smith's grocery store, 8055 W. 3500 South, and went to a nearby air pump to put air in her tires. That's when Cortez approached her and asked if she needed help, said Unified Police Sgt. Melody Gray.

The woman told him no, said that her husband was coming to help her and then got back in her car.

A short time later, Cortez returned, according to Gray. The woman turned off her car and stepped out, taking her keys with her.

"He started calling her names, told her to give him the car," Gray said.

The woman refused and told him not to take her car because her child was in the back, she said.

"The victim physically pushed Jose and the car door to keep him from trying to get into the vehicle. The victim told Jose that her child was inside of the car … (and) Jose said, 'Get your kid' but still proceeded to get into the car," according to a Salt Lake County Jail report.

Cortez got into the driver's seat and demanded the woman's keys, Gray said. She fought with the man through the window, eventually dragging him out of the vehicle.

A man on a motorcycle drove by at that time, saw what was happening and called police. Officers found Cortez walking a short distance away. Gray said the officers noted his behavior was odd.

"He was talking about 'them' and whoever they were, 'they' were doing stuff to him," she said. "He denied ever being there. He said 'It's them. They stole my identity.'"

"The male was acting erratic and tried to go around me when I stopped him, so he was placed in handcuffs and transported back to the scene," the officer wrote in the report.

In 2017, Cortez was convicted of leading a Unified police officer on a car chase in the same area, and trying to ram the officer's car.