Legacy Highway open, suspect in custody following SWAT activity
Mar 17, 2021, 12:04 PM | Updated: Dec 29, 2022, 12:55 pm
(Officers surrounding and arresting suspect Michael Looser as the standoff ended. Credit: Matt Newey, KSL TV)
SALT LAKE CITY– Both directions of traffic on Legacy Highway are now open following a SWAT situation on Center Street in North Salt Lake. One man has been taken into custody after reportedly threatening police with a bomb and a shotgun.
— Rikki Meece (@KSLRikki) March 17, 2021
Investigators say this started when officers in Woods Cross tried to pull over a pickup due to spray-painted windows and an American flag blocking the license plate. However, Woods Cross Police say Michael Looser wouldn’t stop. Looser reportedly drove erratically while leading police on a chase north into Bountiful, then hopped onto southbound I-15. North Salt Lake Police Sergeant Mitch Gwilliam says Looser exited on Center Street, heading toward Legacy Highway.
Gwilliam says, “The vehicle actually died and became inoperable on the overpass.”
— Alexis Pineiro (@AlexisMBPineiro) March 17, 2021
That started a standoff between officers and Looser that lasted nearly two hours. Gwilliam says the suspect wielded a metal rod or pipe and swung it at the officers. SWAT crews reportedly fired gas canisters at Looser, which didn’t subdue him. Looser allegedly claimed he was heavily armed.
“We did bring out a bomb dog because he did make a threat that there was a bomb in the car, and he did make a threat that there was a two-barrel shotgun in the car.”
While police were trying to convince him to surrender, Gwilliam says Looser kept making nonsensical threats.
Gwilliam says, “On top of making the threats with the firearm and a bomb, he was using what appeared to be lighter fluid or starter fluid [and] a lighter and possible trying to start his truck on fire.”
Looser reportedly tried to escape while officers had him surrounded by jumping off the overpass onto an embankment. Witness Lindsey Eaton watched from a nearby parking lot.
“We saw the suspect jump over the barrier to the freeway and run down a steep grass hill where he had his hands in the air. It looked like he was waving the metal pipe,” Eaton says. “He actually came down and almost went onto the freeway. So, it was good that it was closed in both directions.”
Woods Cross Police say Looser was booked into the Davis County Jail for two counts of evading police and one count resisting arrest. They also say Looser might be wanted in connection to similar crimes in Salt Lake County earlier this week.