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California man charged with attacking 2 at Salt Lake airport, trying to grab officer’s gun

SALT LAKE CITY — A California man is facing criminal charges accusing him of attacking two people at random at the Salt Lake City International Airport and then trying to disarm two police officers who were attempting to arrest him.

Scott Ryan Hollis, 28, of Ceres, California, was charged Tuesday in 3rd District Court with two counts of disarming a police officer, a first-degree felony for allegedly attempting to take an officer’s gun and a third-degree felony for allegedly attempting to take an officer’s Taser; aggravated assault, a third-degree felony; and assault and interfering with an officer, class B misdemeanors.

On Sunday, Hollis — who police say had no reason to be at the airport and may have gotten there via public transportation — started attacking people at random, according to charging documents.

He first approached a man who was playing a saxophone, “walked up to him and said, ‘I’m sorry about this’ and punched him in the face,” the charges state.

That man ran off and Hollis next approached a 17-year-old boy who was leaving work at the airport and about to get on a TRAX train.

“(Hollis) grabbed him from behind and put something sharp on his neck,” the charges allege. “(The boy) stated the object started to dig into his skin, so he grabbed whatever it was and pulled it away.”

Two other people grabbed Hollis and told the boy to run. The teenager was later found by officers from Utah Transit Authority police at the Ballpark Station.

Salt Lake police officers working at the airport were alerted by witnesses who said Hollis had just attempted to “strangle someone,” according to the charges.

“Hollis was pacing back and forth and stated, ‘Call backup’ and that he was suicidal and needed help,” police say.

An officer told Hollis that he was going to detain him. But as soon as the officer started to reach for Hollis’ hands, Hollis “lunged” at the officer and tried to grab his gun, according to the charges.

“(The officer) grabbed Hollis’ arm. Hollis continued reaching for (the officer’s) gun using his other arm. Officers took Hollis to the ground. Once on the ground, Hollis reached and pulled (a second officer’s) Taser from the holster,” the charges state.

Other officers were able to pull the Taser away from Hollis and handcuff him.

“We are grateful no one was seriously injured in this incident in one of the most heavily trafficked parts of Salt Lake City. We thank the witnesses willing to help to stop the violence and quickly identify the defendant to law enforcement,” said Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill in a statement. “We appreciate the work of officers at the Salt Lake City Police Department for quickly taking the defendant into custody and preventing him from causing harm to other members of our community.”

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