Police: Cedar City man arrested after assaulting pregnant girlfriend, threatening ‘suicide by cop’

Southern Utah

CEDAR CITY, Utah (ABC4 News)- A Cedar City man has been arrested after police say he assaulted his pregnant girlfriend and told his family he wanted officers to kill him in a “suicide by cop” situation late Thursday evening.

Cedar City Police told ABC4 News domestic violence calls have increased in recent years and domestic violence arrests tend to spike around the holidays.

RELATED: Does domestic violence spike during the holidays?

Family tension, finances, and alcohol: these are factors many people believe cause domestic violence during the holidays; but police want to emphasize that although they can exacerbate the situation, they are not the root causes.

Authorities say there’s an ongoing relationship of manipulation and control, with many unreported domestic violence cases taking place behind closed doors, and without intervention, these situations tend to get worse over time.

“Victims face emotional abuse to verbal abuse to even physical assaults as well as being killed in those situations,” Cedar City Police Sgt. Clint Pollock said. “There’s a lot of unknowns with domestic violence, and our officers always need to take extra precautions.”

Pollock said officers responded to a domestic violence call at the 1000 Block of Brook Street just before 11:30 p.m. Thursday. Family members told dispatch that Jose Hernandez, 22, was intoxicated and had a knife in his hand. Hernandez had ripped a large portion of his pregnant girlfriend’s hair from her scalp. Police said she was carrying his child.

Jose Hernandez mug (Iron County Sheriff’s Office)

Officers arrived on scene and located Hernandez and his mother at the front door. Hernandez still had a knife in his hand and his mother was holding him back. Police asked his mother to step away multiple times, and, officers said, after repeated requests for Hernandez to drop the knife, he failed to do so. Authorities deployed a taser on Jose, where he dropped the knife and fell into ground. Hernandez was taken into custody, officials said.

“They’re one of the most unpredictable cases that officers respond to, and officers need to be ready for anything,” said Pollock.

Hernandez is facing one third-degree felony charge of aggravated assault and six misdemeanor charges: assault, interference with arresting officer, assault of a pregnant person, and three counts of domestic violence in the presence of a child. Officers learned Hernandez pushed his sister while she was trying to break up the fight between him and his girlfriend and three children were upstairs during the altercation and could hear it taking place.

Cedar City Police said they learned Hernandez wanted to wait for them to arrive because he hoped to create a “suicide by cop” situation. Lieutenant David Evans said officers learned this after the incident was under control, and officers wish that information was provided to dispatch immediately to avoid any dangerous situation where they could be blind-sided. Lt. Evans said “suicide by cop” cases are rare in the Cedar City area.

Law enforcement say that during the holidays, some victims of domestic violence may not come forward out of feeling pressure to keep the family together and fearing they’ll ruin the holidays. Lt. Evans said his department wants the public to know that when they respond to these types of situations, they’re there with a simple focus: trying to help.

Free and confidential help and support for victims and survivors of domestic or intimate partner violence is available 24/7:1-800-897-LINK (5465) or udvc.org. If you or someone else is in immediate danger, or in an emergency, please call 911 immediately.

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