Penny’s Story

2 Bodies Found After Standoff
S.L. Police Aren’t Sure Who Shot Whom

By Amy Joi Bryson Deseret News staff writer – Published: Tuesday, Sept. 14, 1999 12:00 a.m. MDT

The bodies of a man and his estranged wife were found just before noon Tuesday following a five-hour standoff with Salt Lake police. Officers discovered the bodies after members of the SWAT team entered the basement-level apartment about 11:30 a.m. The identities of the victims, both dead from gunshot wounds, were withheld pending notification of family, said Salt Lake Police Lt. Phil Kirk. Police weren’t sure who shot whom. The incident at the Sugarhouse Apartments, 1923 S.1200 East, began at 6:21 a.m. Officers arrived shortly thereafter and heard shots being fired, Kirk said. Police shattered two windows in apartment 4, where the woman lives, allowing them to look in from a safe distance. But they were unable to see anyone until they later entered, Kirk said. During the standoff, officers believed the man, 39, and his wife, 32, who are both deaf, may have been behind a door of a closet or a bathroom, he said. Police had attempted to contact the couple via a state telecommunications device for the deaf operator, which sends a written message to the deaf party, but no one ever answered the phone.

The trouble first started earlier Tuesday when a resident of the apartment complex called police reporting a burglary in progress. The caller said the man had a gun, Kirk said. Sometime later, a man emerged from the apartment. He was later identified as the woman’s boyfriend, Kirk said. He told police the man and woman had been fighting. Police interviewed him and learned he had escaped through a kitchen window. Shortly after officers arrived at the scene, a man was seen crawling out of the window of the basement level apartment. He saw police, however, and ducked back inside. It was at that point officers heard the loud banging noises believed to be gunshots. Kirk said the couple has a history of domestic disputes and said police had responded to the apartment on a dispute within the past several weeks. On Friday, the woman obtained a protective order against her husband, and by Sunday an officer was sent to the apartment to stand by while the man retrieved some of his belongings from the home, Kirk said. Tuesday’s incident forced the evacuation of the apartment building and several tenants of an adjacent building.

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