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Man arrested after police say he held 6 Latter-day Saint missionaries at gunpoint in Utah

By Ashley Imlay, KSL | Updated - Jun 21st, 2019 @ 10:41am | Posted - Jun 21st, 2019 @ 7:40am



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WEST VALLEY CITY — Six missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were held by a man at gunpoint in a home Thursday evening while visiting for a teaching session, police said.

About 8:30 p.m., the men were visiting Paul Gutierrez Marquez, 45, in the area of 3300 West and Coventry Park Drive in West Valley City when the incident occurred, according to a police affidavit filed in 3rd District Court.

"The individual that they were meeting with brandished a firearm and held them at gunpoint, told them that they couldn't leave the residence," said West Valley Police Sgt. Sean McCarthy. "They were held in the residence for a little over an hour while the male suspect displayed some very erratic, emotional behavior."

The missionaries told police they were trying to leave the home after the first 10 minutes of being there.

During the incident, Marquez asked the missionaries "generic questions" about missionary work and life before missionary work, McCarthy said.

Marquez would then randomly become angry and point the gun at them, according to the sergeant. "It would continue over and over where he would be calm one moment, then he'd be very aggressive and angry," he said.

"(Marquez) made several threats that they could not leave and waved the firearm at the six victims keeping them at the residence for over an hour," the affidavit states.

After about an hour, the missionaries "were able to calm him down," West Valley Police Lt. M.T. Johnson said. After they left, the missionaries called their mission president and then called 911.

They told police Marquez was drinking during the incident and "would point the firearm at individuals if he did not like what they were talking about," the affidavit states.

The missionaries "seemed like 19- or 20-year-old kids who had been scared and shook up quite a bit," McCarthy said.

Marquez told police "he did pull the firearm out to show the victims," according to court documents. He told police they'd find the gun on his couch.

Police also found empty containers of beer and whiskey, according to McCarthy.

Marquez was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of six counts of aggravated kidnapping, six counts of aggravated assault and three counts of possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person.

"We are grateful these six missionaries were able to calmly and appropriately deal with this situation and leave without injury. The church is working to provide any needed support and counseling to them as they recover from this alarming ordeal," church spokesman Daniel Woodruff said in a statement Friday.

Court records show Marquez was convicted of a misdemeanor charge of intoxication in 2017. A misdemeanor assault charge against him was dismissed.

In that incident, Marquez's son reported to police that Marquez pushed him down and kicked him in the legs after "drinking vodka and beer all day," according to the charges.

Ashley Imlay

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