Police locate Kearns man sought in Amber Alert, police shooting and chases

Police locate a vehicle suspected of belonging to a Kearns man who had been shot at by police Tuesday following a kidnapping that prompted an Amber Alert. Police say the man was arrested Thursday.

Police locate a vehicle suspected of belonging to a Kearns man who had been shot at by police Tuesday following a kidnapping that prompted an Amber Alert. Police say the man was arrested Thursday. (Derek Petersen, KSL-TV)

Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes

AMERICAN FORK — Police located and arrested a Kearns man Thursday who had been shot at by law enforcement officers Tuesday following a kidnapping that prompted an Amber Alert.

The incident occurred about 8:50 p.m. Tuesday at Walmart, 949 W. Grasslands Drive, in American Fork.

Danny Earl Sihalath, 29, was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of aggravated assault, three counts of reckless endangerment, retail theft, evading police, and failure to stop at the command of an officer, according to a news release from American Fork police.

Police were called to the Walmart on a report that a man was inside the store concealing items in a backpack. The man was talking to someone on the phone, leading security officers to believe that someone was waiting outside for him. When security guards tried to stop the man, they said he fought with them.

"During this time, they pulled the backpack containing merchandise from Danny and pulled off his shirt as Danny was fleeing," a police booking affidavit states. "Danny fled on foot to the parking lot. Officers located Danny and gave him commands to stop and to walk over to them."

Instead, police say Sihalath ran to his vehicle where a woman was sitting in the driver's seat and another male was in the back seat along with the woman's 5-year-old son.

The woman told police that after Sihalath got inside the vehicle, he ordered her to "go," but she panicked and dropped the keys. Sihalath then told her to move over and he got into the driver's seat as she got out of the car, the affidavit states.

"While Danny backed out of the parking stall, he hit the female with the vehicle and knocked her over," according to the affidavit. "Danny then drove around police officers on scene, who were giving him commands to stop, and had their vehicle's red and blue emergency lights flashing. The female had to jump out of the way to avoid being struck by the vehicle again."

Officers fired multiple shots at the fleeing vehicle, according to witnesses, and chased after Sihalath.

Police say Sihalath drove erratically at dangerous speeds during "multiple pursuits," which were eventually terminated by police because of the danger. A 5-year-old child and another male passenger were inside the vehicle during the pursuits and "were at risk of death or serious bodily injury because of Danny's actions," the affidavit states.

The incident prompted police to issue an Amber Alert for the child. The 5-year-old was later located safe with some relatives in Salt Lake County and police located the damaged red Acura abandoned in a West Valley neighborhood.

American Fork Police Lt. Josh Christensen said blood was discovered in the car, leading them to believe Sihalath had been injured. The child was not physically harmed.

Police did not say where Sihalath was located Thursday, but said he was treated at a hospital "for injuries sustained during the Walmart incident" and was booked into jail once he was released from the hospital.

Police say Sihalath has an "extensive criminal history" that includes 18 arrests since 2011 and 14 convictions, according to the affidavit, including convictions of burglary, assault, drug possession, failure to stop for police, DUI, theft and more.

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Brian West is News Director at KSL.com, managing the daily coverage of news. He has had an extensive career in media, working in radio, newspaper, TV and internet publications.


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