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Gunman Slain by Utah Deputy Who Slipped In With Hostages

March 06, 1994| From Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY — A gunman carrying a crude bomb took 18 people hostage Saturday at the Salt Lake City Library, then was fatally shot by a deputy who had snuck in among the hostages.

Salt Lake County sheriff's Lt. Lloyd Prescott was teaching a class for police officers in a room next to the one where the gunman took the hostages, Lt. Marty Vuyk said.

"He made a super move. He became the last hostage by walking in the room and closing the door behind him," Vuyk said.

Prescott was dressed in a sweat suit. He identified himself as a sheriff's officer after the gunman told the hostages to draw lots, apparently to determine the order in which they would be killed, said Salt Lake County Sheriff Aaron Kennard.

The gunman swung his gun on Prescott and the deputy then shot him four times in the chest and wrestled him to the ground, Kennard said. None of the hostages were hurt.

Two SWAT team members received minor cuts from broken glass as they rushed into the room.

The gunman, identified as Clifford Lynn Draper, died at LDS Hospital, Vuyk said.

The 5 1/2-hour ordeal began just after a group of Tibetan Buddhist monks had dismantled an intricate sand painting they had created over four days at the library.

The monks, who live in exile in India, were to scatter the painting and throw its grains into the nearby Jordan River. They were not taken hostage.

The man leaped onto a table, pulled out a handgun and announced: "Have a nice life. Mine's probably over," witnesses said.

Radio station KSL quoted witnesses as saying the gunman told them he had a bomb "big enough to blow up the whole building."

The man was holding a hair-curling iron with wires leading into a shoulder bag, witness Jan Carlston said. The man held the curling iron open and threatened that the bomb would go off if he closed it, Carlston added.

The curling iron did not set off the bomb, which was later detonated in the library by a bomb squad.

During telephone negotiations with police, Vuyk said, Draper demanded money, an audience with Salt Lake City Police Chief Ruben Ortega and a pardon from President Clinton. Ortega was in Arizona.

Some people managed to escape as the gunman herded the hostages to the room on the second floor. Hostage Carl Robinson said Prescott suddenly showed up as they were being herded into the room.

"I said: 'Get out of here.' He said: 'It's OK. I'm with the sheriff's department,' " Robinson said.

Draper gave a sealed letter he wanted mailed to the local Deseret News to the head Buddhist monk, who had followed the group to the second floor. The monk, who does not speak English, didn't know what to do with the letter and gave it to Robinson.

The gunman let Robinson go free so he could mail the letter and let the monk go with him. Robinson told police that the deputy was among the hostages.

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