COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS — A man who police believe assaulted a woman was arrested Tuesday night.
But investigators were still trying to sort out Wednesday how the two came together, what they were out doing and what really happened.
"He did assault her, there's no getting away from that," said Cottonwood Heights Police Sgt. Mark Askerlund. "He admitted to striking her several times in the face and head and pulling out large clumps of her hair."
The 33-year-old woman claims she was kidnapped at knife point from where she works. Askerlund said detectives had not found any evidence to support that as of Wednesday and believe the woman got into the car with the man — her ex-boyfriend — willingly so the two could make a drug deal with a third person.
After money was exchanged with a third person in another vehicle, the couple followed that person to get their drugs, but lost him in traffic, Askerlund said. It was during that time that the woman was assaulted.
"He says he gets angry. He has anger issues and he said she disrespected him and you don't disrespect that type of gang member. He said, 'You don't disrespect my group,'" Askerlund said.
Cottonwood Heights police had arrested the man a couple of weeks earlier for investigation of DUI. During that arrest, he assaulted one of the officers after he felt the officer had also disrespected him, Askerlund said. The officer received bruises on his legs after being kicked by the man who was wearing steel-toed boots.
The woman claims she jumped out of the car to get away. The man said she got out at an intersection. She declined medical attention after police were called.
Members of the Metro Gang Unit found Keith James Earnhart, 26, using a pay phone nearby and arrested him for investigation of aggravated assault. Askerlund said Earnhart is a member of an Ayrian Nation gang.
The car the couple was in was later found at 1149 S. Foulger St. (35 East), the same address where a fatal officer-involved shooting occurred in March. The car was towed away. Investigators were expected to obtain a search warrant Wednesday to go through it.
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