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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After a family dispute, man holds police at bay with a gun before reportedly killing himself

By Nate Carlisle
The Salt Lake Tribune

FARMINGTON, Utah - The man at the center of a daylong standoff here killed himself late Monday as police launched flash grenades and tear gas, police said.
At about 9:10 p.m., police began their attempt to subdue Brian Wood, a part-time Farmington firefighter, who had held them at bay with a gun since about 9:30 Monday morning.
The barrage of grenades and gas continued for about five minutes as police repeatedly ordered Wood to drop his gun. Then a shot rang out. Police scanner traffic reported that Wood had shot himself.
About 10 p.m., Paul Waite, a friend of the Wood family, confirmed Wood was dead.
The Wood family was gathered near the police command center in the neighborhood when they were notified of his death. The family members hugged one another and cried.
Earlier in the evening, Farmington Police Chief Wayne Hansen said Wood had been speaking with a negotiator and had not made any demands.
"We're working as hard as we can toward a peaceful resolution," he said.
But the standoff continued into the evening until police launched the grenade attack.
The incident began around 9:30 a.m. as a report of a family fight, Hansen said. Wood, according to the police chief, fired one shot into a garbage can. Wood's wife and 10-year-old son left the house uninjured. At some point Wood took refuge in his truck and held police at bay with a gun.
Police fired tear gas and auditory devices into Wood's pickup truck to force him out. A robot also sprayed tear gas into the truck. At some point in the standoff, Wood exited the vehicle, but police could not subdue him.
A block in every direction from the intersection of 100 North and 100 East was cordoned off by police.
Waite, a family friend and an assistant superintendant in the Davis School District, called Wood "a kind, gentle, good young man."
Waite said that when Wood was not working as a firefighter, he repaired water wells. Waite said he was not aware that Wood had any history of mental illness.

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Utah police to review deadly force in standoff

By Pat Reavy
Deseret News

FARMINGTON, Utah - The funeral for a Farmington firefighter killed in a daylong standoff will be Friday.
Funeral services for 36-year-old Brian Wood will be at 2 p.m. Friday at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Fruit Heights, with interment following the service at Farmington City Cemetery.
The Farmington Fire Department has agreed to transport Wood's casket from the church to the cemetery on a firetruck. But Wood is not receiving a regular firefighter funeral. There will not be the full honors normally bestowed on a firefighter killed in the line of duty.
Wood was shot and killed by police following a 12-hour standoff in front of his house that ended about 9:30 p.m. Monday. Wood had had an argument with his wife that morning and fired a gun into a trash can. A SWAT team and officers from several agencies surrounded Wood's driveway, where he sat most of the day in a truck while holding a gun to his head.
Police attempted to get Wood to surrender Monday night by deploying several flash-bang devices and tear gas, but something happened that resulted in Wood being shot.
The exact sequence of events that led up to that moment will be a key part of the investigation into the incident.
"We want to get an accurate picture and put that all together," Farmington Police Chief Wayne Hansen said Wednesday. "In the next day or two, we hope to have the whole investigation laid out."
The Davis County Attorney's Office on Wednesday issued a statement saying the Officer Involved Fatality Investigation Team of the Utah Attorney General's Office would conduct an investigation into the use of deadly force. It also confirmed that a Davis County sheriff's deputy had been placed on routine paid administrative leave following the outcome of the investigation.
"A thorough, fair and objective review must be conducted to determine whether the officer's decision to use deadly force was justified," the Davis County Attorney's Office said in a prepared statement Wednesday. "Our sincere condolences are extended to all impacted by the untimely death of Brian Wood."
Farmington Police's Critical Incident Protocol Team also will review the standoff to see what can be done differently in future incidents.
Initially, there were reports that Wood had shot himself. That came from an officer's comments on the police two-way radio that was monitored by the media, Hansen said. But that information was never officially confirmed or released by police to the media, Hansen said. It wasn't until Tuesday evening that the department announced that an officer had shot Wood.
"We never confirmed (he shot himself) with the media," Hansen said. "We were trying to get (the information) together and get confirmation. We had a lot of investigative protocol to go through before we released accurate information. We wanted to make sure we had a complete picture (before officially announcing the cause of death)."
Hansen confirmed Wood fired two shots during the daylong events: one in the morning at the trash can and one in the evening. Information about the evening shot, or how it fell into the sequence of all that happened, was still being investigated.
Friends and family members of Wood have voiced their anger over the shooting, saying the incident didn't have to end that way. In March, police had a similar encounter with Wood but were able to talk him into surrendering.
A viewing for Wood was scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Russon Brothers Mortuary in Farmington, 1941 N. Main.
The Rev. Neal Humphrey said it was a difficult time for Wood's family and that they were all still in shock.

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
SWAT shootings raise policy questions

By Aaron Falk
Deseret Morning News

FARMINGTON, Utah - SWAT team members surrounded a Roy home where a man had barricaded himself after a domestic dispute Tuesday.
A negotiator made contact and options were weighed. In the tense moments, the question was how would it end?
A day earlier, the Davis County SWAT team had converged on Brian Wood, a 36-year-old firefighter who had fired a gun at a garbage can during an argument with his wife. The standoff lasted 12 hours and ended with gunfire.
Tuesday, however, police got the ending they hoped for as the man in Roy stepped outside after two hours of negotiations.
These incidents a day apart have ignited a discussion around the state about how SWAT teams handle standoffs.
Wood's friends have said the man was provoked by police too anxious to end a delicate situation. But the former commander of the Ogden Metro SWAT team said the biggest variable in any standoff is the man with the gun.
"Here's the underlying thing that everybody misjudges or doesn't realize: We have no control over the actions of the individual. None," said Ogden Assistant Police Chief Randy Watt. "When we arrive on the scene, we hope for the best. We hope the person sees the light and no one is injured, but we don't control that.
"The suspect makes the decision how it will end," Watt added.
The Wood incident was the third SWAT standoff in Utah this year to end with police shooting and killing the person.
In January, South Salt Lake police shot and killed Ross Sullivan after he swung a sword at officers at the end of a 90-minute standoff. And last month, Gregory Martin Lamb was shot and killed during a 90-minute standoff in Cache County.
The officers involved in the latter two incidents have been legally cleared in the shootings. But in all cases, friends and family members have said police forced the issue and caused more harm than good.
"They came running in like a posse," said Karen Martin, Lamb's aunt. "What was your big hurry? This was a person's life. Ninety minutes was too long?"
After his wife and 10-year-old son ran from the house, Wood left his home and holed up inside his pickup truck Monday night. Nonlethal means -- tear gas and flash bangs -- were used because Farmington Police Chief Wayne Hansen said he believed his officers had a chance to take the man safely into custody.
But some said actions taken by police escalated the situation and caused Wood's death.
"I just thought it was horrible," said Farmington resident Wade Lake, who watched police close in on Wood. "Just like someone tormenting an animal in a cage."
In the death of both Lamb and Wood, friends and family members say that if only they could have spoken to the man with the gun, maybe things would have turned out differently.

There is no template
SWAT team members are chosen because of their physical and mental toughness, Watt said. They undergo extensive and continuing training through their careers to be ready for a number of stressful situations.
A standoff with someone who has barricaded himself inside a home is one of the toughest, Watt said.
"A lot of people suggest you don't handle that call," he said. "But how do you not? We have a moral and ethical obligation to that person and society. Because when that doesn't cause the attention or contact they're seeking, they find another way. ... That puts us in a situation where things can get ugly fast."
A trained negotiator, and often a psychologist, begins attempting to reach the barricaded suspect. Based on those talks, it is up to the SWAT commander how things advance, Watt said.
"There's no template," he said.
In an interview with the Deseret News last week, Watt said a number of factors determine how police handle a standoff. Time and money are among them.
"How long do we inconvenience all the other people who live in the area?" Watt asked. "How long do we keep kids tied up in the school? How long do we keep businesses shut down? These things don't happen in a vacuum.
"No police department I know of has a cash account that will pay for these things until they're resolved," he added.
But ultimately it is up to the person how the situation ends.
"We don't choose the timeline," Watt said. "The suspect chooses the timeline."
If a negotiator does not believe progress is being made with the person, as was the case in Farmington, nonlethal force can be used to move the talks along.
"We'll break a window or two, or knock a door off the hinges," Watt said. "It shows the police are going to take some action. More often than not, the guy picks up the phone."
He said more often than not, it ends peacefully -- but not always.

'I'm gonna die tonight'
The two men were talking on the telephone for more than an hour about fly fishing and The Cure, skateboarding and their children.
"I really do, I actually trust you and I, I really like talking to you," one of them said. "The thing is though, I don't trust the 100 peace officers around my house."
Gregory Martin Lamb, 28, was an alcoholic, and on Aug. 16 he had been drinking whiskey in the basement of his parent's home in Hyde Park, a tiny town just north of Logan.
His father had called police that afternoon and said, "My son is threatening our lives and we want him out of here," according to a report from the Cache County Attorney's Office.
A SWAT team arrived at the home and a negotiator, Logan Police Capt. Eric Collins, talked with Lamb for more than 90 minutes, trying to persuade him to come outside without his guns.
"Well, let me tell you something, Greg," Collins said, according to a transcript provided by the county attorney. "It's your choice if you want to be around, if you want to be around for your son. It's your choice, but I think that, I think that your son deserves that."
"I'm absolutely not going to be," Lamb replied. "I'm gonna die tonight."
Collins kept talking with the man, hoping to wear him down.
"Are you guys going to sit out there all night?" Lamb asked Collins.
"Well, as long as it takes, buddy. I'm gonna sit on the phone with you until the cows come home. I'm not goin' ...."
"Till the llamas come along, huh."
"The llamas, yeah."
"We got two new goats from the fair yesterday."
"You got new goats from the fair?"
"Yeah. For (my child). He wanted them, so ...."
"Well that's awesome. Who's gonna teach him how to take care of the goats?"
"Obviously not me."
A few minutes later, Lamb crawled out of the basement window and was met by a half dozen police officers. According to the county attorney's report, Lamb had a handgun raised above his head and lowered it when the officers ordered him to stop.
Six officers fired about 20 shots in less than two seconds, killing Lamb.

'Shots fired, shots fired'
There was a moment during their conversation when Collins told another officer he thought he could go inside the home and talk with Lamb, according to the transcript. And when the call of "shots fired" came over the radio, Collins just cursed.
Gunshots are not the sounds any police officer wants to hear at the end of a standoff, Watt said.
"No SWAT officer I know wants to kill anybody," he said. "He's hoping to avoid it at all costs."
For Martin, that cost would have included using nonlethal weapons such as Tasers and rubber bullets to subdue her nephew.
But Watt said there is no guarantee those options will work in all instances. And there are too many cases of "suicide by cop" for police to not take a man with a gun seriously.
"If he points the firearm and we don't shoot, he's got to jack it up to the next level," Watt said. "I don't want to explain to a spouse or a child that we waited to see if he would pull the trigger."
In Farmington, Watt said he understands there will be plenty of scrutiny while a community heals.
"There are a lot of decisions that have to be made," he said of any standoff. "They're not easy and they're not popular."

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Re: SWAT shootings raise policy questions

"I just thought it was horrible," said Farmington resident Wade Lake, who watched police close in on Wood. "Just like someone tormenting an animal in a cage."
In the death of both Lamb and Wood, friends and family members say that if only they could have spoken to the man with the gun, maybe things would have turned out differently.
Tormenting an animal in a cage? Hmmm, and I suppose it was just a misunderstanding that Brian Wood thought it was perfectly acceptable to discharge a firearm during an argument with his wife? Ahhh, if only they could have spoken to the man with the gun... Well now, I suppose if it really were that simple, we'd have absolutely no need for SWAT to exist at all and the family had no business dragging the police into their family drama, right? These two individuals were hell bent on ending their lives, plain and simple.

Gunshots are not the sounds any police officer wants to hear at the end of a standoff, Watt said.
"No SWAT officer I know wants to kill anybody," he said. "He's hoping to avoid it at all costs."
For Martin, that cost would have included using nonlethal weapons such as Tasers and rubber bullets to subdue her nephew.
And if that rubber bullet hit your nephew in the head, or if he died after a Taser deployment, you'd still be filing the lawsuit and blaming the police for your nephew's death.

In Farmington, Watt said he understands there will be plenty of scrutiny while a community heals.
"There are a lot of decisions that have to be made," he said of any standoff. "They're not easy and they're not popular."
The ultimate reality. Police work isn't a nicely-packaged, Power-Point sales pitch, with soothing music playing in the background. We deal with otherwise nice people in their times of crisis, the dredges of society, and everything in between. Let's put the accountablility where it belongs -- with the individual who created the situation that required law enforcement response.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Re: SWAT shootings raise policy questions

Utah firefighter said "come get me" before standoff

By Jens Dana
Deseret Morning News

FARMINGTON, Utah - "Come get me."
Those are the last words part-time Farmington firefighter Brian Wood, 36, said to Davis County 911 dispatchers Sept. 22 before he engaged in a 12-hour standoff with police that ended in his death. In a 911 recording made public Tuesday, Wood stated he had assaulted his wife.
"I just beat and raped my wife. Come get me," he said before hanging up.
John Cummings, an attorney who is representing Wood's family, said he has spoken with Elizabeth Wood and she said Brian Wood did not beat and rape her.
"She emphatically states that did not happen," Cummings said in an official statement. The family declined further comment.
After Brian hung up the phone, a dispatcher called back and Elizabeth Wood answered the phone. She sounded distraught, but tried to reassure dispatchers everything was fine.
"What's going on over there?" the dispatcher asked.
"It's fine," Elizabeth Wood said. "His dad is here right now. I'm fine."
She then told the dispatcher not to send anyone.
"The last time they came it didn't even do me any d--- favors," she said emotionally. "I do not want anybody here."
Prior to this fatal standoff, police had responded to another dispute at the Woods' home March 12. Wood and his wife were reportedly having a domestic dispute before police arrived. Wood surrendered himself after a four-hour standoff.
On Sept. 22, Wood armed himself with two pistols and fired a shot into a garbage can before barricading himself inside his truck at 115 E. 100 North and faced off with police from Farmington, Clearfield and Bountiful as well as Davis County sheriff's deputies. Elizabeth Wood and the couple's 10-year-old son were able to leave the house before the standoff began.
During the standoff, officers fired a tear gas canister that broke the driver's side window of the truck where Wood was sitting, but the tear gas failed to penetrate the truck.
Negotiators made several attempts to talk Wood into surrendering, police said, but those attempts were fruitless. Police also said Wood made physical and verbal threats to officers and would hold a gun to his head from time to time.
Around 9 p.m., police employed nonlethal tactics to take Wood into custody, firing tear gas and flash grenades. The exact sequence of events is still under investigation by the Utah Attorney General's Office, but it appears Wood fired a shot and a Davis County deputy returned fire, killing him.
Wood's friends and family are upset by how the standoff ended.
"I just thought it was horrible -- just like someone tormenting an animal in a cage," Wood's longtime friend Wade Lake said.
Wood's father, Jerry Wood, said that before his son was shot, officers dropped him to the ground with a jolt from a Taser and fired at the downed man.
Jerry Wood said his son was a typical man who was screaming for help the night he was shot. Though Wood expressed suicidal thoughts, he was only a threat to himself, his father said.
The Wood family has retained an attorney and is contemplating a wrongful death lawsuit against the police department.

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Utah standoff suspect's determination surprised police

By Nate Carlisle
Salt Lake Tribune

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah - Police officers would say later they had never seen anything like it.
They sprayed Brian P. Wood with tear gas but he did not surrender. Officers hit Wood, 37, with pepper balls and rubber bullets and he didn't do anything more than say "ouch." One officer stunned Wood with a Taser but he did not fall down right away.
SWAT officers closing in on Wood pleaded with him to drop his gun. Instead, some officers would say later, they saw Wood point his gun as if he was preparing to fire.
Wood's Sept. 22 standoff at his Farmington home is recited in about 400 pages of reports and audio recordings released last week. They portray Wood, a part-time Farmington firefighter who had a previous arrest for domestic assault, as belligerent and determined not to allow the standoff to end peacefully. Meanwhile, police commanders were worried Wood had an assault rifle and SWAT teams would lose sight of Wood in the dark.
"The subject refused all of our many offers to provide him a chair, water and food," Salt Lake City police Sgt. Scott Teerlink wrote in a report. "When we asked the subject what he wanted, he would simply stare and not respond. The subject made no demands and only stood waiting as if he was waiting for us to do something."
An attorney representing Wood's survivors declined comment last week because she had not yet reviewed the documents. The family previously has criticized the use of force -- both lethal and nonlethal -- against Wood and said the situation could have been resolved peacefully if friends and family had been allowed to speak with him. The Utah Attorney General's Office ruled the use of force was legally justified.
Wood's wife has denied her husband assaulted her that day, as he claimed in a phone call to police that initiated the standoff at about 9 a.m. that day. But the reports show when police arrived at their home near 100 E. 100 North, she told an officer Wood had hit her "all over."
At about that same time, Wood was seated in his pickup truck. Other vehicles were blocking the truck in the driveway. Wood fired a shot from a .38 Special revolver into a utility trailer parked on the passenger side.
Farmington police called for reinforcements and soon SWAT teams from the Davis County Sheriff's Office and the Salt Lake City Police Department arrived.
Negotiators took turns throughout the day trying to speak with Wood by telephone or by shouting. Wood appeared to cooperate with negotiators sometimes, even laughing and joking with them, various officers wrote or told investigators later.
But Wood repeatedly said he could not go back to jail. Other times, Wood was seemingly distant and wouldn't speak . He would just shake his head no.
Davis County Sheriff's Lt. Arnold Butcher told investigators negotiators made numerous offers to end the standoff peacefully, but Wood said to let him leave "or haul his dead carcass out of there."
At one point, police allowed Wood's father to talk to him over a loud speaker. Police said this agitated Wood and he asked his family no to do that again because he didn't want the neighbors to hear. Police were afraid to let Wood speak with family for fear he would say goodbye and commit suicide.
The reports say Wood never let go of a silver .45-caliber semi-automatic pistol. Often he pointed the gun at his head or chest.
Police also were worried, documents say, Wood had an AR-15 assault rifle in his truck or under the carport. Police found magazines for the weapon in the house but could not find the rifle.
At about 2 p.m., police fired tear gas and pepper balls at Wood. This forced him out of his truck through the passenger door. He spent his last few hours standing or crouching in his driveway.
By 8 p.m., police were noticing Wood -- who had gone all day with no food or water -- was starting to nod his head as if he were falling asleep. Darkness was falling.
Steve Major, a deputy Davis County attorney who was advising police, said the Salt Lake City SWAT leaders were worried they would not be able to keep sight of Wood in the dark. Police commanders devised a plan to get Wood on the telephone then send three teams toward him firing nonlethal devices. Snipers had positions across the street at the Farmington Fire Department.
The operation began at about 9 p.m. Police threw concussion grenades and hit Wood with rubber bullets. Throughout the episode, officers were yelling and pleading with Wood to drop the gun.
Wood took cover behind the utility trailer. The smoke from the grenades and Wood moving behind the utility trailer took him out of sight of the snipers. Davis County Sheriff's Deputy Josh Boucher, who joined the SWAT team in April, ran from the fire station up to the SWAT teams so he could see Wood.
Salt Lake City Officer Brett Olsen climbed above a fence and shot Wood in the back with a Taser. When Wood yelled to stop "Tazing" him, Olsen wrote, Olsen determined the charge wasn't taking effect. Olsen pulled the Taser's trigger again and kept giving Wood charges until he moved out from behind the trailer and to the ground.
To Boucher, it looked like Wood was charging at officers. Boucher would later tell investigators he couldn't believe the sight -- and it scared him.
Then Boucher heard a gunshot. Wood fired a shot in the direction of one of the SWAT teams, according to documents. The bullet lodged in the headlight of a pickup.
Boucher, who was not wearing body armor like the other SWAT officers, moved in front of Wood and saw him on his knees positioning his pistol to fire at one of the SWAT teams.
Boucher aimed his .308-caliber rifle at Wood's head and pulled the trigger, but nothing happened. Boucher left up the bolt of his rifle to prevent an accidental discharge.
Boucher closed the bolt, and took another aim. This time, Boucher said, he saw the muzzle of Wood's pistol pointed at him. With his scope, Boucher could even see the grooves inside Wood's barrel.
Boucher said he thought of his wife and daughter and that he had acted too late to protect himself and the other officers. But Boucher again took aim at Wood's head. This time his rifle fired. The bullet pierced Wood's carotid artery and the vertebrae in his neck. He died at the scene.
Police found the AR-15 rifle in a bag in the rear of the carport, along with a .22-caliber rifle.
Salt Lake City police Sgt. Josh Scharman told investigators the nonlethal munitions should have forced Wood to surrender.
"Sgt. Scharman said in all his barricade incidents, he has not had one with as much determination" as Wood showed.

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