West Jordan family wakes up to police stand-off in their backyard

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UPDATE: The suspect involved in Friday morning’s police stand-off has been identified by police as Aaron Gudmundson, 37, and booked into jail.

According to court documents, Gudmundson was arrested for failure to stop or respond to a command officer, failure to stop at command of law enforcement, criminal trespass, and criminal mischief.

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WEST JORDAN (ABC4 News) – A West Jordan family woke up to an alarming scene Friday morning after the suspect in a short police chase ended up in their backyard and at the center of a SWAT stand-off.

Sgt. J.C. Holt with West Jordan Police Department said the suspect initially refused to stop when an officer initiated a traffic stop shortly before 6 a.m.

The suspect led the officer on a short chase before stopping in the driveway of a house in a random neighborhood located near 7800 South 3500 West and ended up in the backyard of the house next door. Investigators said they believed he climbed up a tree and then onto a shed in Cary and Bethany Bess’ backyard to hide.

“The driver yelled at the officers, ‘Don’t chase me anymore! I’m going to kill myself!’ It appeared he had that gun pointed to his head and the officer backed off just a little bit,” said Sgt. Holt.

In an exclusive interview with ABC4 News, Bethany Bess said she woke up to the sound of someone shouting.

“I wasn’t sure what was going on so I hurried and got up. I came to the living room to look outside and saw there was a police officer getting into his truck,” she said. “He pulled out his really big gun and I heard him calling on his radio. Next thing I know, I started hearing all these sirens.”

At the same time, her husband, Cary was getting ready to leave for work when he found out there was a stand-off taking place in his backyard.

“That’s when the officer saw I had my truck running outside and I opened up my door. He said, ‘You might want to shut your truck off. Get in your basement,'” said Cary Bess.

The Besses, who are gun owners, grabbed their firearms and took their children downstairs, away from the windows and the backyard.

“I told my children, ‘Stay here. Stay down’ because that was when the guy started to yell that he had a gun and he was just’ going to go ahead and do it.’ Come to find out, he was threatening suicide,'” said Bethany Bess. “I made sure that I was standing in between my kids who were in the hall and going into our family room, where there is a window. I wanted to make sure that if for some reason, he ran through the window, he was going to come at me first.”

Her husband, on the other hand, said he wasn’t worried.

“West Jordan PD does an amazing job, always have. We had another similar incident with a similar stand-off here in the neighborhood about six months ago,” said Cary Bess. “It’s not that big deal for me because of my past. When I heard the guy said he had a .22, I thought, ‘That’s not going to do much.’ So I just wanted to make sure it was safe, at least in my house and the neighbors’ houses.’

He caught on video the moment the stand-off ended peacefully with the suspect surrendering. No injuries were reported. Investigators said the suspect has not been booked into jail pending his mental health evaluation at the hospital. Until then, his name will not be released. His handgun has not been located.

For the Besses, they said this incident was a sobering reminder about being vigilant.

“This completely came out of left field. Our neighborhood is a safe place,” said Bethany Bess. “Both my husband and I have guns. But now, we’re also thinking about investing in a security camera system.”

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