Police found no bombs at the home of an East Millcreek, Utah, man who had set up a network of wires and fake explosives in his yard before engaging officers in an armed standoff on Sunday. David Charles Baker, 47, was arrested at about 6:30 p.m. after SWAT officers used a tactical vehicle to break through the front door of Baker’s home said Unified Police Detective Levi Hughes. Baker, whom police described as mentally unstable and trained in explosives, fled out the back door and was immediately captured by officers.
Neighbours had reported Baker’s erratic behaviour to police several times in the past few months, Hughes said. Investigators learned that Baker had experience with incendiary devices and found a series of agitated video rants on the internet, Hughes said, but they do not know what exactly set off the chain of events leading to Sunday’s confrontation. Hughes said the incident appeared to start at about 2:30 p.m. when Baker showed up at a friend’s home and got into a face-to-face confrontation with the friend and made some sort of "demands." He then left a package in the driveway and informed his friend that its contents could cause his home to catch fire.
When patrol officers drove to Baker’s home to speak with him about the incident, they found Baker wielding a shotgun and walking amid the trip wires as he placed several propane and gas tanks around his property, Hughes said. The officers kept a safe distance, said Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder. "This gentleman had in place items that were of such significant concern that to just rush up would have been an act of foolishness," Winder said. About 40 homes in the neighbourhood were evacuated as Baker went into his home and refused to come out. Baker shouted "nonsensical" things to officers that gathered around his home, Winder said. Neighbour Natalie Harvey said she heard him yelling, "Get out of my flowers!" Another neighbour, Haley Fife, said Baker shouted to police that he would only come out if they blew up his house.
Minutes before SWAT officers raided the house, Fife saw Baker display a headless mannequin in one of his windows and put a hat on its neck. He also placed bottles on the window sills and took photographs of those bottles, Fife said. After Baker was arrested and cuffed, he could be seen hopping and dancing in a black sequin mini-dress with orange and pink fur trim and a cowl neck. Bomb squads examined suspicious items Baker reported left at neighbours houses, including an alarm clock with tape on it. Crews deemed those items safe and found the set-up of wires and tanks in Baker’s yard also were not dangerous. Neighbours were allowed to return to their homes about 8:30 p.m.
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