A security guard faces criminal charges for allegedly pointing a gun at two teens who cut in front of his car Friday.
Kent Edmund Demke, 56, East Central City, was charged Tuesday in 3rd District Court with two counts of aggravated assault, a third-degree felony. He was released from the Salt Lake County Jail on $10,000 bail.The incident began over a traffic lane dispute, said Salt Lake police detective Steve Wooldridge.
Nichole Larsen, 16, was driving near North Temple and State Street when her lane merged into an inside lane, and she merged in front of Demke's car, Wooldridge said.
"Apparently there was some dispute as to who had the right of way," Wooldridge said.
She and friend Chelsea Ellis, 15, told police Demke began to tailgate them and pulled along side while yelling at them, the charges say. The girls said that near Beck Street and Victory Road, Demke put his arm out the window and pointed a gun at them.
Larsen "was afraid of being shot so she ran the red light and got on the freeway," the charges say. On I-15, Demke "again pulled up on the left side of her car and reached across his car to point the gun out the open window at them," Wooldridge said.
"It was a type of road-rage incident," Wooldridge said.
Afraid that Demke was going to shoot them, Larsen slammed on the brakes and exited the freeway at the 500 South exit in Bountiful.
Meanwhile, Ellis had contacted police on her cell phone, and a Davis County deputy sheriff stopped Demke at 181 W. 500 South in Bountiful, the charges say. Demke had a loaded chrome Taurus .40 caliber pistol in a holster on his right hip and a loaded .45 caliber pistol in the left front door pocket.
The deputy also found a badge on the front seat of Demke's car that identified him as a security officer for a local security company, according to the charges.
Wooldridge said Demke is licensed as an armed security officer and has a concealed weapons permit, but he wasn't on duty when arrested.
"People carry weapons as a means of protecting themselves or others from obvious threats to serious bodily injury or death," Wooldridge said. "However, in this case, a 16-year-old female driving down the road really doesn't seem to be much of a threat."
Most traffic disputes are best handled by getting a plate number and contacting police, he said.
"Challenging people at gunpoint over traffic disputes is probably a very bad and illegal idea."