Standoff resolved without violence

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Ted Crook was recovering Tuesday from a long night of worrying about his son.

He spent the night waiting out a long standoff between his son, Jonathan Crook, and Craig police. The 23-year-old held police at bay for nearly 12 hours at 796 Barclay St., after officers came to arrest him in connection with a domestic disturbance.

Officers had obtained an arrest warrant for Jonathan Crook on suspcion of second-degree attempted murder charge and second-degree assault based on his girlfriend's allegations that he had assaulted her.

Ted Crook didn't want to say much Tuesday afternoon, fearing he would prejudice people against his son.

"It was alcohol related," Ted Crook said. "He was here on the condition he work on his alcohol problem. I felt he was doing good until now, but everything can change on the turn of a dime," he said.

It was almost 4 a.m. Tuesday when police ended the standoff by launching a chemical similar to tear gas into the house, forcing the convicted felon outside where police took him into custody. But the chain of events began more than 24 hours earlier, when Jonathan Crook's girlfriend alleges he began beating her.

At about 2 or 3 a.m. Monday morning, Jonathan Crook and Megan Valenswala, 18, got into a fight because Valenswala wanted two people to leave the residence, according to an affidavit Valenswala filed with police. Valenswala told police she'd been Jonathan Crook's girlfriend for a year.

The previous night, Valenswala alleged one of the people had brought a single barrel 12-gauge shotgun to the house, according to the affidavit. Jonathan Crook sawed off the barrel of the shotgun, Valenswala alleged.

Sgt. Marvin Cameron of the Craig Police Department said one dangerous weapon was found in the house, but declined to confirm what type of weapon it was.

When Valenswala began fighting with Jonathan Crook about the people in the house, he choked her until she blacked out, she alleged. She said he hit her in the eye with his closed fist and threw a beer bottle that struck the left side of her head. It wasn't the first time Jonathan Crook had beaten her, Valenswala told police, but he had never before hurt her so badly.

Shortly before 4 p.m. Monday, she found Craig Police Officer Dale Secules in the 700 block of School Street. Crying and holding her face in her hands, she told the officer her boyfriend had assaulted her.

Police transported her to The Memorial Hospital, where she was treated for her injuries by Dr. Allan Reishus, who later filled out a serious bodily injury form for the police.

At the same time Reishus was treating Valenswala's injuries, the Moffat County Joint Special Response Team was arriving on the scene to arrest Jonathan Crook on suspicion of second-degree attempted murder, second-degree assault and domestic violence. The response team was activated in light of the nature of the crime and Jonathan Crook's criminal history, Sgt. Marvin Cameron reported in a press release.

Cameron declined to elaborate on the police record.

During the standoff, Ted Crook said police "were very professional."

Police barricaded four blocks with their cars parked across the streets. Police armed with assault rifles posted themselves behind trees and inside neighboring houses.

At about 6 p.m., Ted Crook attempted to contact his son by phone, but Jonathan Crook didn't answer. A couple of hours later, K. C. Hume, a negotiator with the response team, asked Crook through a megaphone to answer the phone so they could talk things out. Hume called but only got the answering machine.

Ted Crook said his son said he slept through half the standoff.

At 9 p.m., police issued a press release that stated Jonathan Crook did not want to go back to jail and wanted officers to shoot him.

By 3:45 a.m., the officers on scene were getting tired, Cameron said. Wanting to make a move while it was dark, the police ordered Jonathan Crook out of the house one last time.

"It came down to ... we felt he was a danger to himself, the community, neighbors and officers," Cameron said.

Police fired canisters of CS gas, a chemical similar to tear gas, into the house. Jonathan Crook left the house immediately and was arrested.

Jonathan Crook is being held in the Moffat County Jail. Bond will not be set until he makes an initial appearance before a judge. Additional charges are pending, Cameron said.

Rob Gebhart can be reached at 824-7031 or rgebhart@craigdailypress.com.

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