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A Millcreek father fought off a shotgun-wielding home invader at his front door, but died in the subsequent firefight that also left the suspect dead in the street.
The incident took place about 2 a.m. Thursday near Skyline High School, at 3693 S. Twinbrook Street (3140 East).
Unified Police Lt. Lex Bell said the fatal showdown began with the 34-year-old suspect, identified as Jesse Lyle Bruner, pounding on the homeowner's door, trying to force his way inside.
Russell Reed Jacobs, 47, reportedly armed himself with a revolver and went to investigate.
Jacobs was able to fight off Bruner, who then fled a short distance into the neighborhood. Jacobs pursued him outside, and at some point the men exchanged fire from about 10-15 feet apart, and both of them went down. Bell said both men were wounded in their upper torsos.
UPD said Jacobs' 18-year-old son, who had heard the ruckus and followed his father outside, witnessed the shootout. The boy was not physically injured.
"It sounds like he was just trying to defend his family and protect his home," Bell said of Jacobs. "We are truly saddened for the families and neighborhood affected by this. This is a tragedy, and UPD is working to assist the families with their needs at this time."
Bell added that investigators believe Bruner fired first, based on witness accounts.
Bruner who worked as a tattoo artist was dead when police arrived. Near him was a sawed-off 12-gauge single-shot shotgun, Bell said.
Jacobs, a father of four who worked for Cambridge Financial Services, survived a short time in very critical condition while paramedics attempted for nearly an hour to save him. A neighbor, who is a doctor, had earlier come to his aid.
During a brief press conference, LDS bishop, family friend and neighbor Wes Smith called Jacobs' death "a great loss" and said the man known as "Rusty" would be missed. Smith also said that the family had asked for privacy as they grieve.
Neighbor Jonathan Diaz said that Jacobs was well-known and liked.
"Salt of the Earth," Diaz said. "He was incredible. He provided for his family."
Diaz and his family moved here six years ago and found friendly neighbors in the Jacobs family. Jacobs' wife would cut Diaz's kids' hair, and the Jacobses were the family "that would put on the street block party."
Diaz, who attended the same Mormon ward as the Jacobs, called the family "really, really good people."
UPD said Jacobs and Bruner were not believed to be acquainted, though according to court records, Bruner had lived off and on in the same neighborhood since about 2004.
A Tribune reporter and photographer went to Bruner's last known address, in the 3000 East block of Craig Drive (3640 South), located several blocks from the shooting scene, but residents of the home refused to comment.
Bruner had a long criminal record, beginning at age 18 with a misdemeanor charge of making a threat with a dangerous weapon. His record also includes firearms possession by a restricted person convictions as well as guilty pleas to theft and drug-related counts, court records show.
Bruner was sentenced to a zero to five year prison term in 2001, after pleading guilty to forgery and theft by deception charges. A dozen years later, he pleaded guilty to unlawful possession or purchase of a firearm charges, along with several drug charges. The conviction stems from allegations that Bruner "made some threats with a gun" outside a Millcreek business in 2013, according to a probable cause statement filed in court.
He was initially given probation for those crimes, but court records allege that he did not allow probation officer to visit his home or workplace which violated the probationary terms and he was incarcerated for 60 days in the Salt Lake County jail.
In 2015, Bruner was accused of pushing two women during a domestic dispute, but charges were dismissed a month later due to witness unavailability. He currently has an arrest warrant issued in connection to a possession of drug paraphernalia case.
According to an affidavit filed in court in 2013, Bruner was self-employed as a tattoo artist. He worked for a Salt Lake City-based tattoo shop as recently as this month, according to his social media profiles.
Court records also show that on Oct. 9, Bruner's wife, Jenice, petitioned for divorce.
Utah Department of Corrections spokeswoman Brooke Adams said Bruner was incarcerated from July 13, 2001 to Jan. 21, 2003, when he was paroled. His parole was revoked on Oct. 24, 2003, and he was back in prison until Feb. 3, 2004, when he was again paroled.
In December 2014, he was sentenced to Salt Lake County jail for 60 days on misdemeanor weapon and possession drug counts.
UPD said the two men were not believed to be acquainted, though according to court records, Bruner had lived off and on in the same neighborhood since about 2004.
Detectives were trying to determine if Bruner had been seen in the area of the shooting earlier this week. Bell asked that anyone with information about that, or other aspects of the case, call UPD's Violent Crimes Unit at 385-468-9820.
Tribune reporter Jessica Miller contributed to this story.