WEST POINT — A woman was charged Wednesday with helping a wanted violent fugitive who tried to shoot a deputy.
Amber Diane Gronau, 36, of West Point, is charged in 2nd District Court with obstructing justice, a second-degree felony, and obstructing a board of pardons warrant, a third-degree felony.
On Feb. 25, while looking for Zachary Mendelkow, 35, a documented white supremacist and a wanted parole fugitive, in the area of 4600 West and 800 North, Mendelkow confronted a Davis County sheriff’s deputy with little warning.
Mendelkow walked up to the deputy and pointed a gun in his face, according to charging documents.
“When (police body cam video is) played slowly, Mendelkow tried pulling the trigger a few times,” the charges state. “For whatever reason, the revolver did not discharge. As police later discovered, the revolver had the hammer back. It had five live rounds in the cylinder. But for whatever reason, it did not fire.”
The deputy fired his weapon and Mendelkow dropped to the ground. But after several minutes of confusion, it was determined that Mendelkow had not been shot.
“You’re lucky you’re not dead,” a deputy told him on the body camera recording.
“You’re lucky you’re not,” Mendelkow angrily responds.
After Mendelkow was taken into custody, investigators learned he was also a suspect in a kidnapping that occurred earlier that morning.
About 3:30 a.m. that same day, detectives say Mendelkow entered another West Point home armed with a gun. He pointed the gun at a resident and forced him to drive him to a store in Weber County, according to a police affidavit. He then allegedly had the man drive to several locations in Clinton and Roy.
During this time, Mendelkow kept talking on the phone with someone named “Amber,” according to charging documents filed against Gronau. As Mendelkow forced the other man to drive, he said he “was trying to meet up with the female named Amber.”
They finally rendezvoused with “Amber” and Mendelkow got into her car and left.
Detectives were later able to determine that Amber is “Mendelkow’s cousin and girlfriend,” the charges state.
“Amber was interviewed. In her recorded interview, she admitted to picking Mendelkow up, to knowing about the robbery and kidnapping, and to Mendelkow’s taking the victim’s phone and discarding it. More specifically, Amber admitted to knowing that Mendelkow was on parole and on the run,” according to the charges.
Gronau told police she knew Mendelkow had been in a high speed chase with police prior to kidnapping the man who drove him to her, and that he forced the man to drive him at gunpoint, the charges state.
“Amber admitted to taking off to Wendover after this because she knew she should not have picked up Mendelkow after knowing what he had done and knowing he was wanted. She admitted to knowing that Mendelkow didn’t want to go back to prison and to having talked about being willing to get into an altercation with the police to avoid it. She knew Mendelkow was on parole, was selling drugs to make money, and she was trying to help him keep from getting arrested,” the charges state.
After his arrest, Mendelkow was charged in 2nd District Court with attempted aggravated murder, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated robbery and aggravated burglary, all first-degree felonies; as well as obstructing justice and possession of a firearm by a restricted person, both second-degree felonies.
Prosecutors have requested both Mendelkow and Gronau be held without bail.