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Pat Reavy and Aaron Falk

A dramatic rescue by a Salt Lake City police SWAT team happened Wednesday when officers burst into a business and saved a man that investigators believe was about to be murdered.
Michael James Fleming, 23, was found badly beaten with his eyes swollen completely shut and jaw broken, bound and gagged with a piece of tape over his mouth, and stuffed into the trunk of a car, said Salt Lake police Sgt. Robin Snyder.
"They were going to move him right before dark and finish killing," said Salt Lake police Lt. Dave Hoffman, "and it was getting dark."
"If that tip wouldn't have come in, and if our officers hadn't responded as quick as they did, we wouldn't have found him until he was dead," Snyder added.
The dramatic series of events began about 6:45 p.m. when a detective received a tip that a man was being held hostage at an auto repair shop, 344 W. Paxton Ave. (1180 South) and that his life was in danger, said Snyder.
Investigators believed the tip was credible enough that they rounded up some members of the SWAT team who were already in the area training and went to the auto body shop to conduct a hostage rescue operation, Snyder said. The operation is similar to what officers involved in the Trolley Square tragedy did, she said. Rather than set up a containment around the business, police broke in the door and entered.
Two men and twin 17-year-old boys were arrested for investigation of attempted aggravated murder and attempted kidnapping. Luis Ceron, 42, and Joel Ortega, 26, were booked into the Salt Lake County Jail. The teens were booked into juvenile detention.
Fleming was taken to a local hospital in critical but stable condition. He was beaten with two guns, a pipe and a stun gun, according to a county jail report.
"The victim was submitted to further beatings and had guns pointed at his head," the report stated. "The victim was told he was going to die. The victim feared for his life."
Fleming was placed in the trunk, "while the conspirators discussed how to kill and dispose" of him, according to the jail report.
Detectives believe the kidnapping may have started because of a dispute over stolen property. The suspects claimed the victim had stolen items that belonged to them, Snyder said.
Investigators were back at the business at 4 a.m. Thursday to serve a search warrant. A police K9 found about 100 balloons containing drugs in the garage.
Snyder said one of the suspects was somehow connected to the auto repair shop.

Story From: Deseret Morning News (Salt Lake City)
 
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