MAGNA — The fatal shooting of a man living in a tent in downtown Salt Lake City started when the gunman attempted to kidnap his former girlfriend who was now living with the victim, according to police.
William Henry Clark, 33, was arrested for investigation of aggravated murder early Wednesday following a long standoff with police.
"It's been an interesting night to say the least," Unified Police Lt. Manfred Lassig said after the nearly 12-hour standoff ended.
Clark was wanted in connection the fatal shooting of Ryan Prendergast, 21, on Monday. Prendergast, who was living in a tent near 900 South and 500 West, was shot by someone about 4:40 a.m. Monday who drove up to him, fired at least one round and then drove away, according to police.
Prendergast was staying in the tent with a woman who was the first person to step out of the tent to speak to Clark when he pulled up, according to a police affidavit.
"William produced a firearm during this conversation. William then placed the barrel of the firearm directly on the cheek of (the woman). Will demanded that (the woman) get into the vehicle with him in an attempt to kidnap her," the affidavit states.
Pendergast heard the altercation and exited the tent himself to confront Clark. That's when he was shot once in the chest by Clark, according to the affidavit.
When the woman called police, she told them that Clark "was an ex-lover who she had previously lived with," the affidavit says. Another person later admitted to buying the weapon used to shoot Prendergast and giving it to Clark knowing that he was a convicted felon, according to police.
On Tuesday, Salt Lake police received information that Clark was at an apartment in Magna. Officers went to the Oquirrh Hills Apartments, 2850 S. 8400 West, about 3:30 p.m. and spotted Clark, who they said immediately ran back into his apartment and barricaded himself along with his 14-year-old son.
The Salt Lake SWAT team surrounded the apartment, evacuated some of the adjacent units and tried to convince the man to surrender, Lassig said.
"He kept saying he wanted to surrender but never would come out," he said.
About 11 p.m., the SWAT team from Unified police was called to relieve the Salt Lake officers. By approximately 3:20 a.m. Wednesday, the SWAT team shot tear gas into the apartment and were able to safely take Clark into custody, Lassig said. In addition to aggravated murder, he was also booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of attempted aggravated kidnapping, obstructing justice, possession of a weapon by a restricted person, and shooting in the direction of a person.
Despite the lengthy standoff and the displacement of tenants for many hours, the lieutenant said the standoff ended with no one injured.
"Everybody is alive. Nobody lost their lives on it, and that's ultimately what our goal is," Lassig said.
The boy who was in the apartment was not being held hostage, according to police, but rather chose to stay with his father for the duration of the standoff.
Clark has a lengthy criminal history, according to court records. Most recently he was charged in December in 3rd District Court for drug possession with intent to distribute and possession of a weapon by a restricted person. A warrant was issued for his arrest in January for failing to show up for a court hearing.