Search continues for Utah man shot at during police confrontation, abduction

Aug 10, 2022, 2:43 PM | Updated: 10:29 pm

AMERICAN FORK, Utah — An evening shoplifting call Tuesday turned into police shooting at a car with a 5-year-old child in the back seat and a driver that authorities are still searching for Wednesday.

Police fired multiple shots at a red Acura Tuesday night when the driver — 29-year-old Danny Sihalath — ignored police commands to stop, got in a car and knocked a women to the ground. She had been inside the vehicle moments before his efforts to drive away from police.

The incident triggered an Amber Alert, after authorities discovered a 5-year old boy was inside the car at the time.

The ordeal unfolded in front of several customers who were going in and out of the American Fork Walmart, including Sarah Terry and her 11-year old daughter Blakely. Terry said she could see the man running from the Walmart as she pulled up to park.

“He kind of cut in front of my stall because it was the only one open, and he got in front of my car, I hit him a little bit. He takes off running,” she recounted. She got out, tried to point police to the man, but saw that they already caught up to him.

That’s when the man took off in the car, and when American Fork Police said a Utah County deputy fired shots. A woman, who had been in the car, obeyed officer’s commands and got out of the car. She can be seen getting knocked to the ground by the vehicle and then scrambling out of the way.

Terry said she yelled for her daughter to get inside.

“There was a dad and his two kids in a cart, and I grabbed onto his cart and his back I just shoved him into Walmart,” she said. “My mom mode kicked in, and it was to the point where everybody’s child needs to be safe.”

Sihalath zoomed past police and out of the parking lot. Multiple police chases were started and then terminated as Sihalath eluded law enforcement overnight. He is described as 5 feet 11 inches tall, 190 pounds with black hair and brown eyes.

An AMBER Alert was issued for the child, in what at first wasn’t clear to media, was the same incident. In the alert, police identified the man, the little boy and the car they were looking for.

Hours later, the child was located safe with some relatives and police located the damaged red Acura abandoned in a West Valley City neighborhood.

American Fork Police Department Lt. Christensen said they were led to that neighborhood because Sihalath’s family was listed as living in a home there. They found the car across the street from the home.

Neighbors described hearing SWAT execute a search warrant, throwing flash bangs, ramming the front door, and yelling on a loudspeaker for everyone to get out.

Christensen said everyone in the house was cooperative and it turned out Sihalath’s family no longer lived there. They didn’t find him anywhere in the area.

Christensen said blood was discovered in the car and it is believed the man was injured. The child wasn’t physically harmed.

American Fork police said officers were running from address to address, first trying to secure the child, to find the car and to continue the search for Sihalath. Police said he is believed to be dangerous and could be armed.

The woman was arrested on suspicion of felony obstruction and shoplifting charges.

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Search continues for Utah man shot at during police confrontation, abduction