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Evacuations in South Jordan neighborhood lifted after officials detonate explosive material in home

Incident began when man allegedly fired on police coming to serve warrant

Ryan L. McManigal
Salt Lake County Jail

SOUTH JORDAN — Explosive material found in the home of a 42-year-old man taken into custody after allegedly firing on armored police vehicles and officers during a standoff Thursday night was too dangerous to move and had to be detonated on site, authorities said Friday.

About 600 residents were asked mid-afternoon to evacuate until Saturday morning. After two detonations, shortly before 6 p.m. and around 9:30 p.m., a South Jordan public safety officials tweeted, “Evacuation is over. The operation went as well as it could have and residents who were evacuated may return to their homes safely. “

South Jordan city spokeswoman Rachael Van Cleave said the explosives found inside the home, located near 3400 West and 10400 South, have been cleared. She said while there was “extensive damage” to the home itself, there was only “super minor damage” to a neighboring house.

“It could not have turned out better,” Van Cleave said, praising the multiple law enforcement agencies involved.

She said assessments are continuing, including an analysis of the explosive material which has not been publicly identified, and there may have to be “adjustments” made to the 10 a.m. return time for some residents living close to the home. They will be notified directly by the city, Van Cleave said.

Cliff Schmidt, who lives just outside the evacuated area about a half-mile north of the home, felt the first detonation.

“I was expecting the first detonation to be later in the evening but happened just after 6 and I knew what it was. It sounded like a small bomb exploding with a little rumble at my house. With the news reports, I’m expecting something a little bigger later tonight,” Schmidt said.

He did not feel the second detonation, which went off as Pioneer Day fireworks were filling the sky.

Access has been closed to an area bordered by 3200 West to Bangerter Highway, and 10200 South to 10400 South, which includes some 168 homes and 34 businesses, Van Cleave said during a mid-afternoon news conference.

Ryan L. McManigal surrendered to police early Friday morning and was arrested for investigation of more than two dozen charges, including multiple counts of aggravated assault targeting law enforcement, possession of a weapon by a restricted person, felony discharge of a weapon, criminal mischief and violating a protective order.

“The explosives were a surprise to us,” South Jordan Police Lt. Matt Pennington said, adding authorities are trying to determine if others are involved. Pennington said authorities knew the suspect, who lived alone, had weapons when they served the warrant on him Thursday evening, but weren’t aware of explosives on the property.

Pennington said authorities had been investigating McManigal since last Saturday. According to the probable cause statement filed by South Jordan police, he had threatened the owner of a nearby fast-food restaurant in a text message, asking how he’d feel if McManigal “entered the business and mowed down customers and staff.”

On Sunday, the statement says, McManigal was allegedly seen with a rifle and several shots were heard. Police found a street light had been shot out in front of his residence.

When officers attempted to serve a search warrant on the home Thursday night and to confiscate any firearms, McManigal refused to leave his home, the affidavit says, and ultimately fired on SWAT vehicles.

“While a West Valley City SWAT armored vehicle containing eight SWAT operators was approaching the front of the residence, it came under heavy fire and was hit with numerous bullets out the front door of the house,” the probable cause statement says. “On the west side of the residence a South Jordan armored SWAT vehicle approached the home it also took several bullets from a rifle.”

Van Cleave said residents contacted door-to-door were cooperative with the voluntary request to leave their homes until 10 a.m. Saturday. She said many had been following the incident and that the city attempted to reach those residents who may not have been home via a reverse 911 call and through social media.

The city, Van Cleave said, wants to “make sure everybody knows that this evening through tomorrow, everyone should stay away from this area.” Those who do not leave have been advised to shelters in their basements and stay away from windows.

South Jordan public safety officials tweeted that “There have been some reports that there is a bio-hazard which is not the case. The materials involved are explosive, but once they are detonated there are no identified environmental concerns.”

South Jordan Mayor Dawn Ramsey said the city’s residents “have been fantastic.” The mayor said she appreciated their patience, particularly with road closures on Pioneer Day. “I realize this is a busy travel day. It’s a family day. It’s a busy traffic day because a lot of people have the day off.”