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Polygamist Hurt as Shots End Standoff, Officer Dead

January 28, 1988|United Press International

MARION, Utah — Authorities today surprised a leader of a defiant polygamist family with attack dogs outside his house, setting off a gunfight that forced his family to end their 13-day standoff. The polygamist was wounded and a law officer was killed.

Many of the 15 people inside the snow-covered log house--including six children--came running out with their hands in the air after the 8:30 a.m. shootout and all were taken into custody.

None of the children inside the compound was wounded, officials said.

The wounded man was identified as Addam Swapp, 27, one of the leaders of the family. He had started the standoff after admitting to bombing a nearby Mormon church on Jan. 16 with 100 pounds of explosives.

The man who was killed was a dog handler who joined other law officers in slipping onto the snowy compound during the night, hiding in one of four farm buildings in hopes of surprising Swapp, said John T. Nielsen, state Public Safety Commissioner.

50 Yards From House

The building was "approximately 50 yards from the house occupied by the family," Nielsen said. "During the morning hours, Mr. Swapp and it was believed his brother (Jonathan Swapp) were observed leaving the home."

When they were away from the home, Nielsen said, the state Corrections Department officer "released a dog to subdue the two individuals. At that time shots were fired. The officer who was the dog handler was struck in the torso."

When Swapp aimed a rifle at the officers, they shot him twice.

The lawmen then called in armored personnel carriers from the Dugway Army Proving Ground to evacuate the dog handler. An FBI agent in the vehicle was struck in the chest, Nielson said, but was saved by his bulletproof vest.

At about the time the military vehicle moved onto the farm of Swapp's mother-in-law, Vickie Singer, 44, and the others came running out.

In Serious Condition

Swapp was in serious but stable condition at the University of Utah Health Sciences Center with gunshot wounds to the chest and wrist, Nielsen said.

Swapp had told relatives he needed a violent confrontation with police to precipitate the resurrection of John Singer, Vickie's husband, and then of Jesus Christ, to save a country besieged by corruption. John Singer was an ex-communicated Mormon who was killed in a shootout with police in January, 1979. Swapp is married to two of the Singers' daughters.

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