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Ogden standoff suspect faces serious charges after allegedly firing on police | News

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Ogden standoff suspect faces serious charges after allegedly firing on police
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During a press conference Thursday, Ogden Police said that after they broke into Jason Valdez's motel room last Saturday, he fired his weapon at them before turning his own gun on himself.

Police say that Valdez will recover after he shot himself in the chest. He is hooked up to a ventilator at McKay Dee Hospital in Ogden, guarded 24 hours a day. They say because of his actions, he could go to prison for a minimum of 20 years.

"He is going to be charged as soon as we can do so, with two counts of attempted aggravated murder," said Ogden Police Asst. Chief Randy Watt. "The victims on those counts are two police officers that he shot at and narrowly missed."

Last Friday, Ogden police served Valdez, a Nortenos gang member, with a felony drug warrant. He was staying at the Western Colony Inn with Veronica Jensen. They say when trying to serve the warrant, Valdez locked himself inside the motel room allegedly taking Jensen as a hostage.

Police say Valdez and Jensen knew each other from the same drug circle. She had been arrested at the same motel in May for heroin possession and came back to buy methamphetamine.

When Valdez refused to come out of the motel room, police say Jensen initially assisted him, but later told police she wanted to leave. Police say at that point, she was a hostage. Valdez said he would release her if he could talk to his son. Police say they tried to facilitate that.

“On several occasions in this case, negotiators thought they had negotiated the release of the hostage, but each time he changed his mind, including after a process where we contacted his son who we asked to speak to in a secure youth offender facility in a Utah State Prison,” said Asst. Chief Watt.

After 16 hours of negotiations Saturday morning, police say Valdez agreed to a deadline to release Jensen. Detectives say he not only violated that timeline, but took some type of action making police believe she was in imminent danger, forcing SWAT to use explosives on the walls and front door to go in for a rescue.

SWAT's rescue team was in the neighboring motel rooms where gas, power and water had been cut off. After police safely rescued Jensen, there was considerable damage to the motel rooms, holes in the walls, bottles filled with urine. The residents returned home to a mess that was never cleaned up.

“The staged rescue team in the neighboring room was there for over 12 hours with no facilities for relief and had to resort to water bottles to do so,” said Watt. Watt says that after the rescue the officers were fatigued and recovering  from the trauma of being shot at and that they forgot to remove the bottles. He says “that’s a lick on us and we accept it.”

The police say the city has a process to review those kinds of claims and that is underway to make up for what happened.

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