Why did it take 5 months to arrest man accused of lighting officers on fire?

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (News4Utah) Five months after setting himself and four police officers on fire, Tyler Ivison is finally behind bars. 

The 26-year-old is in the Davis County Jail facing six felony charges, including aggravated arson and four counts of assault against a police officer.

Surveillance video showed four police officers stumbling out of a gas station bathroom on April 5. Inside, they accuse Ivison of drenching himself in gasoline and lit a fire. 

On September 5, the US Marshal’s Violent Fugitive Apprehension Strike Team put him in cuffs in Cottonwood Heights. 

“He’s shown in the past he’s willing to hurt himself and willing to others to reach his goals. We jumped on it as soon as Kaysville asked us to,” US Marshal Supervisory Deputy Derryl Spencer said.

The arrest marks the first time Ivison legally answered to his alleged crimes since the fire.

“There is obviously a significant mental health issue in a case like this,” Attorney Greg Skordas, who is not connected to the case.

Ivison’s indictment was filed over on August 22.

Why did it take so long? Kaysville Police Chief Sol Oberg admitted he learned Ivison was released from the hospital two weeks ago. He said the department did not ask hospital staff to alert them of the release, nor did they have an officer check on Ivison during recovery.

Skordas said it’s common for prosecutors to hold off until the suspect heals.

“I think the Davis County Attorney recognized he wasn’t going anywhere. He was essentially detained by being hospitalized. There was no rush to charge him, to take him into custody,” Skordas said.

The Davis County District Attorney’s Office did not return numerous phone calls from News4Utah.

On Thursday, Ivison’s sister Danielle Templeton said he spent two and a half months in the hospital for burns on 65 percent of his body. After his release, she said he started a new job and was seeing a psychiatrist. 

If convicted, Ivison could face life in prison. He’s being held on $50,000 bail and will be in court September 7. 

As for the officers who were burned in the fire, Chief Oberg said all four are back at work. One is required to wear specialized protective gear for the next couple years. 

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