Provo shooting suspect said he thought someone was breaking into home

Published: Tuesday, Nov. 20 2012 11:20 a.m. MST

Alex J. Opmanis, 20, was arrested for investigation of attempted murder and other charges after police say he fired at officers who were serving a search warrant at his Provo home.

Utah County Sheriff's Office

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PROVO — The man arrested for allegedly shooting at Utah County law enforcers serving a search warrant told police he thought someone was breaking into his home.

Alex J. Opmanis, 20, was arrested for investigation of attempted murder, drug possession with intent to distribute and possession of a weapon by a restricted person.

Utah County sheriff's deputies with assistance from the Provo Police Department served a no-knock search warrant on Opmanis' residence, 454 S. 900 East, about 6:30 p.m. Monday. A no-knock warrant means officers have been given permission by a judge to enter the residence unannounced.

The warrant was obtained as part of an ongoing drug investigation. Investigators believed Opmanis was distributing marijuana and had "multiple firearms" in the home, according to a police affidavit filed in 4th District Court.

"Upon arrival, officers hit the door with a ram and announced, 'Police search warrant' multiple times and entry was not gained due to the door having some type of security device," the affidavit states.

After officers punched a hole in the door with the battering ram, Opmanis fired four shots at the door, according to investigators. Some of the officers could hear the bullets "zing past them," said Provo Police Sgt. Mathew Siufanua. Officers returned fire and continued announcing their presence as they entered the house, said detective Brian Taylor.

Meanwhile, officers who were positioned at the back of the residence entered the home and helped take Opmanis into custody, according to the probable cause statement.

"He was quickly overwhelmed," Taylor said.

After he was in handcuffs, Opmanis told police he and his girlfriend were in a room when they heard a loud banging on his door and saw his dogs barking at the front door. He then grabbed a .22-caliber revolver, leaned out of his bedroom and fired four shots at the door, the affidavit states.

Opmanis said "he thought it was a group of Polynesian males trying to gain entry into his home," the affidavit states. He also said he "ran back into his room and dropped the gun."

None of the officers were injured. Inside the residence, detectives said they found a small amount of marijuana, drug paraphernalia and packaging material. Taylor said a loaded SKS assault rifle and a loaded shotgun were also discovered inside.

Opmanis' cellphone kept getting texts as police were interviewing him, "indicative of the suspect selling illegal substances," the affidavit states.

Opmanis' residence is within 750 feet of an elementary school.

He has only a minor criminal record, according to Utah state court records. He pleaded no contest in 2011 to disorderly conduct, an infraction. In February, he took a plea in abeyance to misdemeanor drug paraphernalia possession and was ordered to undergo substance abuse treatment.

The incident now has three separate investigations, according to police. Provo police are investigating the shooting at police; the Utah County Attorney's Office is investigating the officers' use of deadly force; and the Utah County Sheriff's Office will continue its drug investigation.

E-mail: preavy@desnews.com, Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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