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SWAT team uses gas to end standoff

By Sandra Yi | Posted - Nov. 29, 2013 at 5:52 p.m.


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KEARNS — A fight between a couple in Kearns led to an hours-long standoff in West Jordan.

Police said Thomas Jason Pearson, 37, barricaded himself in his West Jordan home. He was arrested after the SWAT team used gas to get him out.

"They told us there was a situation going on and we needed to be evacuated," said a neighbor, David Rasmussen.

Just before 2 a.m., Rasmussen awoke to a knock at his door.

"They gave us time to get dressed because we were in bed," he said.

As police at the SWAT team surrounded the town home next door, Rasmussen, his wife and two children found temporary shelter in the clubhouse of their complex.

"It's scary," he said. "I mean, we don't know what's going on. We haven't been told anything."

Police said they had been looking for Pearson since he got into a fight with his girlfriend at their home in Kearns early Friday morning.

"During that argument, it turned physical," explained Lt. Justin Hoyal of the Unified Police Department. "After the physical altercation, Pearson got a handgun, threatened to harm himself and also pointed the gun at his girlfriend."

Police said Pearson then ran to the couple's other home near 4700 West and 7000 South in West Jordan. That's where they found his car.

"Our SWAT team was called out because he was armed and because he had pointed a gun at his girlfriend," Hoyal said.

Police said several attempts to talk to Pearson were unsuccessful.

"They set up a containment on that home, began calling into the suspect, but he would not respond or come out at the commands of our officers," Hoyal said.

Several hours after the standoff began, the SWAT team deployed gas into the home, which brought Pearson out peacefully. That's the outcome Rasmussen was hoping for, for the sake of his kids.

"It's hard because they should be asleep," he said. "They're excited, scared, nervous, so we're just trying to keep them calm."

Hoyal said Pearson's girlfriend was treated for minor injuries from the fight. Pearson was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of aggravated domestic assault.

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