Police search for stabbing suspect following SWAT standoff

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WEST VALLEY CITY -- A man who police say stabbed two people at a party in West Valley City is still on the run. Police and a SWAT team surrounded his home all morning Monday thinking he was inside.

West Valley City police were called to the home near 3300 West and 3900 South at 6:30 a.m. Monday on reports of a stabbing.

Officers say the suspect, Erik Bertelsen, was under the influence of alcohol and methamphetamine got into an argument at a party. They say he stabbed his brother, Easton Bertelson, and another person.

Sgt. Steve Burke of the West Valley City Police Department said, "They found two victims that had suffered what's been described to me as a slashing type laceration injury."

The two victims drove themselves to the hospital and have since been released.

The commotion woke neighbor Damon Duboise.

"I hear some screaming from the girl," he said. "Then I hear the dude yelling ‘I'm a gangster. I'm going to kill somebody tonight.'"

"Then a cop bangs on my door," he continued," tells me, 'We got the SWAT team coming in and so be ready for bullets.' Just kind of get down in case they start firing."

At some point early on, an unknown person informed police that the suspect was still inside the house. Police believed he had three guns with him.

"The information was that he was in the house, and officers were here quick enough that they felt the house had been locked down fast enough that he would still be inside," Burke said.

Negotiators tried for hours to contact Bertelsen, dropping a cell phone inside the home and using a bullhorn to get his attention. SWAT teams finally went in around 11:30 a.m. and found no one there.

Now investigators are trying to figure out how they missed him.

They say there is a crawl space under the floorboards that might lead outside, or perhaps he had enough time to run before officers arrived.

Bertelsen has an outstanding warrant for assault on an officer.


Story compiled with information from Nicole Gonzales and Shara Park.


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