A Utah police officer allegedly kidnapped a member of his own family on Thanksgiving Day in what police described as a “paranoid” episode involving an involuntary joyride, a gun, and abandoned buildings.
An unnamed relative told police that their nephew Scott Elliott Russell, a master officer with the South Jordan Police Department, had taken them for a drive before the family’s Thanksgiving dinner in Provo, Utah, but when the relative requested to return home, Russell refused and kept driving along the I-15 highway. Police did not disclose the relative’s identity.
Russell then “became more irrational and paranoid, at one point, taking the victim’s phone and disabling it,” according to the arrest report, first reported by local station KUTV 2. The relative, knowing the policeman had a gun, complied with Russell’s demands. Russell later denied taking the phone.
Russell and the relative left the highway and exited the car, at which point Russell rolled it down an embankment and tossed his gun over a fence into sagebrush.
The arrest report reads, “[Russell] claimed he had been set up and believed he was actively being watched by an unknown organization ... he claimed again [he was] being watched by individuals and wanted these individuals to see him openly discard the firearm so they knew he didn’t pose a threat.”
Russell and the relative walked to a pair of abandoned buildings. After Russell went into one and left the relative in another, the relative walked to the highway and was picked up by a passing driver and later taken to the hospital for unspecified injuries.
Russell has been arrested on charges of aggravated kidnapping, aggravated assault, burglary, trespass, and interruption of a communications device. He is being held in the Juab County Jail and has been placed on leave from the South Jordan police force.