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EAST MILLCREEK — A several hours-long standoff outside an apartment in an East Millcreek neighborhood ended Friday after police found no one inside.
A SWAT team stationed itself outside the apartment at 3455 S. 1975 East after receiving multiple reports of shots fired in an East Millcreek neighborhood around 2 p.m., but after officers entered the apartment about 8:15 p.m., they found no one.
One caller told police around 2 p.m. that they heard arguing and 10 shots being fired, said Unified Police Lt. Lex Bell. Other witnesses reportedly saw two men on the balcony just moments before hearing gunfire and one person said they saw a car speed away shortly afterward.
SWAT officers attempted to call the two men and the woman believed to live in the apartment, but were unsuccessful, Bell said. Believing they may still be inside, the officers shot gas canisters into the residence shortly before 5:45 p.m. A Deseret News reporter on scene heard about 20 loud bangs at that time. Police later said it was the canisters that made the noise.
Nearby residents were asked to stay inside their basements, said Unified police detective Ken Hansen. Other residents in the six-apartment building and neighbors directly next to it were evacuated. The shelter-in-place order for much of the neighborhood was cleared around 8:30 p.m.
Bell said SWAT officers waited for a warrant to enter the residence.
"It presented a tactical nightmare because of the layout and conflicting information from a witness and other residents nearby that they had to work out," he said.
Officers who went inside found an apartment in disarray, but that was it, he said.
"It was similar to a hoarder type house," Bell said. "It was very messy inside and piles of property of different things all throughout the house which made it very difficult for the SWAT team to clear it because there were so many places where someone or something could be hidden."
Police have dealt with problems at the apartment before, including drug complaints, but the neighborhood overall is considered quite safe, Bell said.
Police were busy Friday night trying to track down the residents of the apartment. While he said it's unfortunate the shooter wasn't located, Bell praised the way officers handled the uncertain situation.
"Everybody here has seen seemed pretty grateful to have us here," he said. "They have obviously been inconvenienced tonight and we don't like having to do that, but it's with their safety in mind that we do these things."
Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Unified police at 801-743-7000.
Contributing: Alex Cabrero, Brianna Bodily