Southern Utah man accused of threatening officers with rifle, prompting them to shoot

A Hurricane, Washington County, man is facing several felony charges for allegedly pointing a rifle at police, prompting them to fire their weapons.

A Hurricane, Washington County, man is facing several felony charges for allegedly pointing a rifle at police, prompting them to fire their weapons. (Stace Hall, KSL-TV)


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HURRICANE, Washington County — A man accused of pointing a rifle at police officers on July 4, prompting them to fire at him, is now facing additional charges.

Amended charges were filed Tuesday in 5th District Court against Thomas Lee Tirey. The 35-year-old man is now charged with five counts of assault on an officer, a second-degree felony; four counts of aggravated assault, a third-degree felony; and reckless endangerment and threatening to use a weapon in a fight, class A misdemeanors.

On July 4, Hurricane police were called to a residence where Tirey was allegedly holding a gun to his own head, according to a police booking affidavit.

"When officers arrived and encountered Thomas, he was holding a rifle lower toward his waist with a handgun still to his head. Attempts to negotiate with him were made shortly after officers' arrival, and he told negotiators that he wouldn't go without a fight. After numerous attempts to negotiate with him, Thomas pointed his long rifle toward five officers that were on scene of the incident. Shots were then fired from officers, and the suspect was not hit and retreated back to his house where he barricaded himself," a police booking affidavit states.

During the ensuing standoff, police learned Tirey had also allegedly waved or pointed a gun at neighbors, according to the affidavit.

As officers continued to talk to Tirey, "he indicated strongly that he would not surrender without violence. Officers were able to view Thomas inside the house where he was holding a high powered rifle as well as a handgun. It was reported Thomas had multiple firearms inside the residence, which included automatic and armor piercing rounds," the affidavit states.

After several hours, however, a negotiator was able to convince Tirey to surrender, and he was taken into custody without further incident. Hurricane police on Wednesday said they are thankful there was a peaceful resolution.

No one was injured in the incident. How many officers fired weapons and how many shots were fired will be part of the investigation by the Washington County Attorney's Office.

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Pat Reavy is a longtime police and courts reporter. He joined the KSL.com team in 2021, after many years of reporting at the Deseret News and KSL NewsRadio before that.

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