SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — A fugitive who allegedly cut a hole in the ceiling of a motel room in the Ballpark neighborhood and escaped earlier this week is now in custody, according to the Salt Lake City Police Department.
Gabriel Valenzuela, 50, was located Thursday afternoon, Oct. 5, by West Valley City police at a hotel near 3400 Decker Lake Dr. while “conducting a drug investigation.” Police say he again attempted to flee, however, they were able to catch him and place him under arrest.
On Tuesday, SLCPD SWAT officers engaged in a standoff and began crisis negotiations with Valenzuela and a female with a felony warrant for her arrest. During the standoff, police believed Valenzuela was armed with a knife and barricaded in a motel on Main Street. Both suspects allegedly refused to exit.
Police said Valenzuela and the female allegedly “cut a hole inside the motel room’s ceiling and accessed the attic. By doing so, the two suspects managed to take advantage of a very small window of time and left the motel property,” according to the press release.
The following day, officers and detectives said they spent the entire day searching for the fugitives. While they were aware of his identity, they kept it private in order to increase their chances of successfully and safely arresting Valenzuela. They said they did not see Valenzuela as an imminent threat to the public and believed he had left the neighborhood.
The female’s identity is being kept private for now likely to help with the investigation. Police do not believe she is an imminent threat to the public.
“The Salt Lake City Police Department thanks the West Valley City Police Department for their assistance on this case,” the release read.
Charges are allegations only. All arrested persons are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.