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Double Threat

Police officers are often pointmen during major confrontations between disturbed individuals and society as a whole. With that overwhelming threat, officers cannot be too cautious. An adult female left her husband, Jorge “Roque” Santiago, after he advised her that he was infected with the AIDS virus prior to their marriage. She moved in with Robert and Lucy Valdez, 1953 West 800 North, Salt Lake City. On November 2, 1993, Roque found his estranged wife and her 18 month old daughter at the Valdez home. During a struggle, Roque shot Lucy Valdez in the stomach with a .38 caliber revolver and kidnapped his wife at gunpoint.

On November 4, 1993, Mr. Santiago entered the Smith’s Food and Drug on South Harrison Boulevard, Ogden, to cash a check. While her husband was inside, the female approached Janet Sager, who had pulled into the parking lot. The female was pleading for help when her husband returned. In a rage, Roque demanded that his wife get back into the car. Using his own vehicle, Roque then rammed Sager’s vehicle, causing extensive damage. He then fired several rounds into the Sager vehicle, causing two tires to deflate. Santiago then fled the scene with his estranged wife.

Following several 911 calls to the Ogden Police Department, an attempt to locate was broadcast by Weber and Davis Counties. Trooper Roger Spiegel was patrolling northbound on Interstate 15 in the area of Lund Lane when he saw the wanted vehicle, southbound on the freeway. As Trooper Spiegel approached Centerville, he confirmed the license plate and continued to follow southbound. Near 1000 North, Bountiful, the suspect spotted Trooper Spiegel and accelerated rapidly. Trooper Spiegel immediately began pursuit with lights and siren. Santiago exited I-15 at 900 West in Salt Lake City and began running traffic lights at 75 miles per hours. Trooper Spiegel discontinued the pursuit due to the extreme danger to civilians.

Approximately two minutes later, Trooper Martin Turner spotted the suspect vehicle southbound on 900 West and picked up the pursuit. As the suspect approached State Road 201 and 900 West, he slowed his car to clear an intersection. Trooper Jerry Walters and Trooper Doug Devenish, who were together in the same vehicle, pulled in behind the suspect as the lead chase vehicle.

The suspect then proceeded westbound on State Road 201 (2100 South). Trooper Walters then saw the driver reach out the driver’s side window brandishing a handgun. The suspect fired one round which struck the passenger side of the patrol car’s windshield, barely missing Trooper Devenish. When Trooper Walters slowed to check for injuries, Trooper Turner again took over lead position in the pursuit. The suspect accelerated to a high rate of speed. Near 3700 West the vehicle struck a diesel truck, skidded out of control, ran off the north side of the road, and rolled onto its top.

Roque exited his overturned vehicle, holding the .38 caliber revolver on his wife as a hostage. Having monitored the pursuit on a scanner, Officer Troy Siebert, Salt Lake City Police Department and Officer Bryan Shields, West Valley Police Department responded to the scene to assist. During the standoff, Mr. Santiago fired one round into the dirt in front of him. When the situation appeared to go into a lull, Santiago unexpectedly turned and shot his wife in the chest. He then fired another round into his own chest and a second round into the chest of his wife. Gunshots immediately erupted as eight officers, from three agencies, fired twelve rounds at the suspect. Santiago was struck by six police rounds and one self inflicted round. He died at the scene. His wife recovered from her wounds.

Officers at the scene were immediately notified that the suspect was infected with the AIDS virus. Officers know that suspects with biological infections can be a double threat to their safety.