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WEST VALLEY CITY — Police say all the man inside had to do was open the door and the majority of what happened next could have been avoided.
Instead, officers forced their way into a house where people were allegedly being held against their will and a riot ensued when angry party-goers started attacking them.
A total of 10 people were arrested and more than 60 citations issued, mostly for minors in possession of alcohol. More than 50 officers from across the valley were called to help control the more than 150 party-goers in the house.
The incident began just after 1 a.m. Sunday when West Valley police were called to a loud party at 4559 West Volta Avenue (3930 South). Eight officers went to the door but no one answered, said West Valley Police Lt. Dalan Taylor, even though the officers could clearly see and hear people inside.
While the officers were at the door, police dispatchers started receiving calls.
"We received several calls from inside that residence that they were trying to leave that residence but the homeowner would not allow them to do so," Taylor said.
Witnesses later told investigators that the person who organized the party had a gun in his hand and was "threatening people, telling them not to leave the house or they would be killed," according to a Salt Lake County Jail report. "Witnesses were so fearful for their lives that they called 911 from inside the residence."
After the initial officers entered the house, some of the people inside started harassing them when they tried to arrest people, Taylor said.
This could have been a whole lot different if they had just opened the door.
–Lt. Dalan Taylor, West Valley Police Department
"They tried to take a few into custody, they started to fight, some of their friends started to join in, and it just kind of exploded from there," he said.
West Valley police called 22 officers from their own department as backup and 25 to 30 more from Salt Lake City, West Jordan, Murray and Unified police.
The officers received some "bumps and bruises" but no one was threatened with a weapon, Taylor said. A total of four people were fighting inside the house and the rest were fairly cooperative, according to West Valley police.
He said it appeared the home owner simply didn't want officers seeing that there were a bunch of underage people drinking in the house. Taylor said the man may have received a citation, but he could have avoided potential felony charges if he had just cooperated in the beginning.
"This could have been a whole lot different if they had just opened the door," he said.
Edgar Reynoso, 20, of West Valley, was arrested for investigation of a number of charges including aggravated kidnapping, inciting a riot, possession of a weapon by a restricted person and providing alcohol to minors.
Reynoso's parents own the house. They were out of town for the weekend.
Contributing:Sandra Yi, Brianna Bodily, and Kyle Spencer