Footage published by a local news outlet shows the intense moments two Utah police officers almost found themselves in a gunfight while trying to capture a fugitive who was found riding in a car with five children.
The incident, which took place just before midnight on Dec. 31, began as South Ogden Police Sgt. Trent Olsen and officer Scott Brown conducted what they thought would be a normal traffic stop, according to KSL-TV.
Things, however, took a drastic turn when they realized fugitive Scott Todd Sanders, 30, — a known gang member with a history of gun and drug related crimes — was in the vehicle.
“Let me see your … hands! Turn the car off. Turn the car off!” Olsen ordered the driver.
[sharequote align=”center”]”Let me see your … hands! Turn the car off. Turn the car off!”[/sharequote]
The footage then shows the officers hold Sanders at gun point shouting at him and ordering him to comply — all while five young children, between the ages of two and eight, were in the vehicle.
“I will (expletive) shoot you,” Olsen threatens. “Don’t do it.”
“What the videos don’t show is that (Sanders is) continually putting his hands up and then reaching down towards the floor boards of the car — which, based on his history, made the officers very concerned he was reaching for a firearm,” Chief Darin Parke told KSL-TV.
“He was in the back seat telling (the driver) to just ‘Go, go, go.’ At one point the officer reaches in to try and take the keys out of the ignition and the suspect came out of the back seat and grabbed onto the officer,” the chief added. “So again, the tension was rising during the entire encounter.”
Eventually, Sanders attempts to flee the officers. A fist fight ensues and officers eventually detain the 30-year-old fugitive.
“He’s striking the officers, he’s trying to kick at the officers, he’s just doing anything he can to get away,” Parke said.
[sharequote align=”center”]”…you put the kids in danger like that.”[/sharequote]
For a moment, however, they feared a gun fight might break out while the children were housed in the nearby vehicle.
“The fear was we were going to have a gunfight, right in the middle of all these children,” Parke said.
“You (expletive), you got kids in the car,” an officer can be heard telling Sanders in the recently released video.
“Scott, you stupid (expletive), you put the kids in danger like that,” added another.
Watch the intense footage:
Authorities ultimately found a stolen gun under the seat Sanders had been sitting in, meth, heroin, a meth pipe and syringe, according to KSL-TV.
He was reportedly charged with possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person, failing to stop at the command of police, assault against an officer, interfering with an arresting officer and drug possession.
Driver, Stefanie Nedig, 28, was arrested for investigation of harboring a wanted fugitive, KSL-TV reported, adding the two may have been on their way to retaliate against another rival gang.
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