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SOUTH JORDAN — Police say officers showed great restraint early Sunday when they reached a peaceful resolution with a man holding a high-powered rifle who allegedly threatened to shoot officers.
Just after midnight, a woman called 911 saying her husband was drunk and became suicidal during a family fight, said South Jordan police officer Sam Winkler.
As officers arrived at the house in the 10700 South block of Ozarks Drive (4390 West), the woman and her three children ran to the front door.
"As the wife begins to exit, that's when he points the gun at her. She's basically at the front doorway, (and) he's pointing the gun at her when she's at the front doorway," Winkler said.
The woman and her children were able to get to police safely. Moments later, a gunshot was heard from inside the garage, Winkler said. The noise prompted several neighbors to call 911, he said. The shot was not believed to be directed at officers, Winkler said.
The man then walked onto the front porch holding a "high-powered rife" and announced he was targeting officers and "would not hesitate" to shoot them, Winkler said.
Although they were prepared to take that step, because his weapon wasn't in a threatening manner, that's what kept them from shooting him.
–Sam Winkler, South Jordan police
However, the officers had also received information that the man would rather die than go to jail and likely fired the shot in the garage hoping officers would react by shooting him as he walked onto the porch, he said.
"He mentioned suicide by cop numerous times, so he wanted to die by the officers' hands," Winkler said.
The half-dozen officers who surrounded the house "had several opportunities throughout the night" to take a shot at the man, including when he walked onto the front porch, Winkler said. But they showed great restraint in holding their ground, he said. The key was that the man never directly pointed his rife at any officer.
"Although they were prepared to take that step, because his weapon wasn't in a threatening manner, that's what kept them from shooting him," Winkler said.
Unified and West Jordan police assisted in the call. A SWAT team was also on standby.
Shortly after threatening officers on the front porch, the man went inside and came back out and surrendered without further incident, Winkler said.
The total time from the initial 911 call to when he was taken into custody was about 45 minutes, police said.
Bryan Lefevre, 44, of South Jordan, was arrested for investigation of aggravated domestic assault and discharging a firearm within city limits.
In 2004, Lefevre took a plea in abeyance to simple assault, according to court records.