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Utah Mormon bishop brandishes Samurai sword to defend neighbor

By Jennifer Dobner

SALT LAKE CITY (Reuters) - A Mormon bishop armed with a Samurai sword came to the defense of his neighbor on Tuesday in a Salt Lake City suburb by helping to chase away a man who had accosted the woman, police said.

The 37-year-old suspect, Grant Eggertsen, later turned himself in to authorities and was booked into jail on suspicion of robbery, burglary, trespassing and stalking, said local police spokesman Lieutenant Justin Hoyal.

The Samurai sword-wielding Mormon bishop, Kent Hendrix, 47, said his son alerted him on Tuesday morning that a woman neighbor was in trouble outside Hendrix's home in the Salt Lake City suburb of East Millcreek.

Eggertsen had approached the woman as she exited her home, Hoyal said. He grabbed her house keys and tried to get into the house, police said.

The woman ran away, screaming for help, and several neighbors responded to her plea, Hoyal said.

Hendrix, who teaches martial arts, grabbed the 29-inch (74-cm) carbon steel Samurai sword he keeps next to his bed and ran to the woman's aid. He said that when he came face to face with the suspect, the man stopped in his tracks.

"He was kind of taken aback to have this sword drawn on him and he jumped back," said Hendrix, who is a bishop in charge of his local Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints congregation.

"He said, 'I'm leaving,' and turned and ran, so I ran after him. I didn't want him to get away anonymously," Hendrix said.

The man then fled in his car, Hendrix said.

Hoyal confirmed that Hendrix used the Samurai sword to come to the defense of his neighbor.

Eggertsen and the woman, who has not been identified, had previously worked at the same company, Hoyal said. Their professional relationship had turned sour and the woman had obtained a protective order against the man, he said.

The woman suffered only minor injuries, Hoyal said.

Eggertsen was in jail on bail of $555 and could not be reached for comment. It was unclear if he has an attorney.

Hendrix called the incident an "interfaith effort" to apprehend the suspect, saying that Catholic and Protestant neighbors were also involved.

(Editing by Alex Dobuzinskis and Eric Beech)

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