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PUBLIC RELATIONS UNIT
|October 5, 2023|
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact Information: PolicePRUnit@slcgov.com
Media Request Form: https://slcpd.com/mediarequest/
SLCPD Announces Arrest of Fugitive
SALT LAKE CITY — A 50-year-old fugitive, whose flight from justice earlier this week resulted in a lengthy SWAT response in the Ballpark neighborhood, is now in custody.
Today, October 5, 2023, around 1 p.m., officers with the West Valley City Police Department, while conducting a drug investigation, saw Gabriel Valenzuela leave a hotel room at 3440 Decker Lake Drive. WVCPD officers tried stopping Valenzuela, but he ran away. WVCPD officers caught up to Valenzuela and arrested him on an outstanding warrant.
WVCPD officers booked Valenzuela into the Salt Lake County Metro Jail.
On Tuesday, October 3, 2023, at approximately 3:30 p.m. Salt Lake City Police patrol officers saw a stolen motorcycle abandoned at the Main Street Motel, located near 1500 South Main Street.
While officers were investigating the stolen motorcycle, they reviewed surveillance video showing Valenzuela going inside a room at the Main Street Motel.
SLCPD officers secured the area and began efforts to communicate with Valenzuela inside the motel room.
During the investigation, SLCPD officers learned Valenzuela had access to a knife and that there was a second person inside the motel room.
The on-scene incident commander requested the assistance of SLCPD SWAT and crisis negotiators. These highly trained teams provide patrol officers with additional resources.
SLCPD officers believe Valenzuela did in fact barricade himself in the room.
When SLCPD SWAT officers approached the room, they discovered Valenzuela, and a woman – who also has a felony warrant for her arrest – had 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.
Because SLCPD SWAT officers had reason to believe Valenzuela accessed the attic and could have accessed a crawlspace, they conducted a lengthy and extensive search of the motel and its property.
On Wednesday, October 4, 2023, officers and detectives with the Salt Lake City Police Department spent the entire day following up on leads and looking for Valenzuela.
To safeguard the investigation and maintain an element of surprise, the Salt Lake City Police Department did not publicly release Valenzuela’s name. Based on the information officers developed during their investigation, they did not believe Valenzuela remained in the Ballpark neighborhood after leaving the motel.
Additionally, there was no evidence to suggest Valenzuela posed an imminent threat to a person or public safety.
The Salt Lake City Police Department will always take steps to prioritize officer and community safety to increase the likelihood of a safe apprehension, which may require some information be withheld.
The name of the woman who escaped with Valenzuela is not being released at this time. There is no evidence to suggest she poses an imminent threat to a person or public safety.
Criminal charges related to the flight from justice may be screened with the district attorney’s office.
The Salt Lake City Police Department thanks the West Valley City Police Department for their assistance on this case.
Charges are only allegations, and every arrested person is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
The Salt Lake City Police Department is not the custodian of record for jail booking photos. Utah Code 17-22-30 mostly prohibits the release of jail booking photos. Generally, a jail booking photo can only be released by the custodian of record after a conviction or when law enforcement determines the person is a fugitive or an imminent threat to a person or public safety. In Salt Lake City, the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office is the custodian of record for jail booking photos.