Suspect allegedly threatens couple with machete during neighbor dispute

Composite image with background photo by Ofc Picture/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — An argument on the porch of an apartment complex escalated into an altercation when a suspect returned with a 2-foot long machete Monday evening, police say.

On Monday shortly before 7 p.m., officers responded to a residence on Dixie Downs Road to investigate an incident involving a suspect who was reportedly brandishing a knife and threatening a couple at an apartment complex.

Upon arrival, the reporting party told officers that the suspect, later identified as 56-year-old Michelle Dorrity, started making verbal threats against one of the residents. When the caller went outside, the suspect was just returning with a machete that she started pointing towards the caller and a second individual, and even as they walked toward a vehicle parked along the street, the suspect continued following them, according to charging documents filed with 5th District Court.

The caller reported to officers that the suspect came “within approximately 5-10 feet” of the couple as Dorrity continued yelling and pointing the machete at them, which is when the caller told the suspect they were calling police and the suspect left that parking lot.

While speaking with the suspect, officers learned that the incident started with a conflict between neighbors that ultimately escalated into an argument. Police say she then admitted to returning to her home to retrieve the machete before going back outside where the conflict occurred.

The suspect also told police that she grabbed the machete to let them “know she was serious and wanted to intimidate them,” the officer noted in the report.

Michelle Rene Dorrity, 56, of St. George, booking photo taken in Washington County, Utah, Aug. 31, 2020 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

Officers then located the weapon inside of the suspect’s home on the living room floor and described it as being approximately 2 feet long with a taped handle on it.

The report also states that Dorrity admitted to pointing the machete at the couple while the three were arguing on the front porch, but she said she never left the porch nor did she take the weapon out on the street.

When officers asked the suspect how angry she was on a scale of one to 10 at the time of the incident, she responded with a six and allegedly told police she was only trying to protect her mother and stop anyone from banging on her windows.

Officers arrested the suspect who was booked into Purgatory Correctional Facility on third-degree felony aggravated assault, a charge that was submitted to the Washington County Attorney’s Office based on the premise that the suspect returned to her home in the midst of the argument, which gave her the opportunity to deescalate the situation. Instead, she made a “threat with an immediate show of force to cause bodily injury with a deadly weapon,” the officer noted in charging documents submitted to the court.

The suspect was charged the following day and remains in custody on $5,260 bail.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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