Tear gas ends 9-hour standoff in West Point

Published: Sunday, Sept. 23 2012 6:38 p.m. MDT

WEST POINT, Davis County — A 37-year-old man was taken into custody early Sunday following a nearly nine-hour standoff with police that started with a complaint over loud music and ended with tear gas being launched into his house.

Just after 10 p.m. Saturday, Davis County sheriff's deputies received a complaint of loud music coming from a house at 4303 W. 1300 North in West Point. Responding deputies told Robert Jason Leavitt to turn his music down. But as soon as they left, he cranked it up again, said deputy Scott Harper.

When deputies returned to tell him to turn it down a second time, Leavitt acted "very agitated," Harper said.

"He had two pit bulls and made threats he was going to release the dogs on deputies," he said.

Leavitt then locked himself inside his house and "stood in the front window with a long barreled riffle making threats that basically he was going to hurt the officers or kill them," Harper said.

The deputies retreated to their squad cars and called for the Bountiful and Davis County SWAT teams. SWAT team members surrounded the house. They also informed neighbors they needed to stay inside, preferably in the basement. Harper said an evacuation plan was in place if the situation had escalated.

The SWAT team was able to make phone contact with Leavitt, who again seemed agitated and told them he didn't want to come out. He then stopped answering his phone, Harper said.

About 4 a.m. Sunday, deputies broke out one of Leavitt's windows and tossed in a phone that directly links to police and constantly rings until someone picks it up.

Harper said deputies could see the man through the window drinking as the standoff continued.

By 7 a.m., after making several attempts at negotiating a surrender, Harper said it appeared Leavitt was ready to give up. They convinced him to lock the dogs in a bathroom so no one would be injured, he said. But he ultimately refused again to leave his house, Harper said. Finally, the SWAT team gave him a two minute deadline.

At the end of two minutes, SWAT team members shot tear gas into the house.

"He came out immediately and was taken into custody," Harper said.

Leavitt was questioned at police headquarters before being booked into the Davis County Jail for investigation of assault on a police officer, intoxication, weapon possession by a restricted person, weapon possession by an intoxicated person, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

He has an extensive criminal history of mostly misdemeanor offenses and traffic citations dating back to 1992, according to Utah court records.

In 1997 he pleaded guilty to escaping from official custody, a third-degree felony, and intoxication, according to court records. In exchange for his plea, charges of assault on a police officer and interfering with an arrest were dropped.

In 2005, Leavitt pleaded guilty to misdemeanor disorderly conduct. In 2010, he again was convicted of misdemeanor disorderly conduct and intoxication, according to court records.

The dogs were transported to animal control.

E-mail: preavy@desnews.com

Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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