ST. GEORGE — A response unit of SWAT officers and negotiators were called to a St. George home Friday afternoon after a man allegedly assaulted his 93-year-old grandmother.
After nearly two hours of negotiation at a residence on the 1200 block of Hagen Circle in the Bloomington area and with the alleged victim already out of the house, 45-year-old Cody Calegory peaceably surrendered. He was arrested and later booked for aggravated assault and criminal mischief.
Family members at the scene told St. George News Cody Calegory has been treated for an unspecified mental illness and had been off his medication.
The suspect was also involved in at least three previous standoffs with police, including two 2006 incidents on the grounds of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ St. George Temple.
St. George Police Lt. Johnny Heppler said based on evidence and testimony obtained through the investigation, officers determined that the grandmother had been choked around her neck, restricting her airflow. The 93-year-old received treatment from medical units on site, but according to family members, she refused the ambulance and was transported by family members to Dixie Regional Medical Center.
Family members said the grandmother had a cochlear implant fall out and a bruise around her right eye.
Heppler said the woman was able to exit the house, finding refuge in a neighbor’s home and contacted police. Police arrived “within minutes” at approximately 2 p.m. and initiated phone communications with the suspect, said Heppler, who described the communications as “difficult.”
“We were familiar with him. As a precaution because of the past history, we staged SWAT and our crisis negotiations team,” Heppler said. He added unlike the Hollywood image of SWAT teams, the Crisis Response Unit serves to increase the chances of a result where no one gets hurt.
“With the SWAT team on scene, we have less lethal and nonlethal options,” Heppler said. “Between SWAT and the negotiations team, we train for situations like this with the desired resolution. As a result, the window is open for the suspect to get additional care.”
At 4:33 p.m., after a little over two hours of negotiations barricaded in the house, Cody Calegory surrendered to authorities.
Pat Calegory, stepmother of the suspect, said he has struggled with mental illness and is a “different person” off his medication.
“He’s the best guy ever. He wouldn’t do anything to anyone,” she said. “But when he’s off his meds, he’s a different guy.”
Pat Calegory said her stepson had just experienced the unexpected death of the mother of his children last month. She said the incident was precipitated on the grandmother telling her grandson he needed to take his medication, adding that he “flipped out.”
Cody Calegory’s three previous notable standoffs with police also reportedly involved mental illness.
On Jan. 29, 2006, police were forced to taser Cody Calegory after they said he caused a disruption inside the visitors center of the St. George Temple, where he said he was God. Four months later, on April 2, 2006, police said they were forced to taser him again when he was seen walking naked toward the temple. Police said at the time that he had been off his medications for a month.
In the most recent standoff incident — on March 28, 2014 — SWAT and negotiators responded and arrested Cody Calegory after police said he damaged items in a room of the Coronada Inn on St. George Boulevard.
Advisory editor Joyce Kuzmanic contributed to this report.
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