A man with a mental condition threatened to kill Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson on Monday, Salt Lake police said.

The 59-year-old man entered the Utah College of Massage Therapy in Salt Lake City shortly after 10:30 a.m. and asked to speak with an employee there, Salt Lake police detective Dwayne Baird said.

An administrator at the school would not allow the man past the front counter, and an altercation ensued.

"He assaulted the administrator, and it was not long after that the man threatened to kill Mayor Anderson," Baird said. "And he told the administrator it would happen in 45 minutes."

At the time, the mayor was in his office at the City-County Building, not far from the massage school.

Baird said the man also threatened Anderson in an e-mail message Monday. It was unknown not known where the e-mail originated, but the circumstances were being investigated and measures were being taken to protect Anderson. Anderson, Baird said.

"We ensured his safety," Baird said. he added. It is believed the man was angry because he thought Anderson had plans to purchase the Geneva Steel plant to turn it into a resort. He has allegedly sent e-mails to the mayor before.

The man was traced to his home, near 3600 S. State, and SWAT team members surrounded the home and ordered the man to come out.

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Baird said police negotiated with the man, and he who came out, but then decided he wanted to go back inside. Officers used a "diversionary tactic," Baird said, throwing a "flash-bang" grenade toward the home. The blast kept the man from going back inside, and he was taken into custody.

Baird said the man has a history of mental-health issues and a somewhat violent past. The man was taken to a psychiatric facility for examination and questioning and was later booked into the Salt Lake County Jail on misdemeanor charges of assault and making terroristic threats.

"The mayor is safe, and we're glad everyone is safe," Baird said.


E-mail: wleonard@desnews.com