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South Salt Lake woman uses American flag to defend herself from attacker

(Paul Hultgren, left, and LeJune Timmerman, right, standing under their new American flag. Hultgren is holding the aluminum pole his sister used to defend herself, while Timmerman is holding the flag that was damaged. Credit: Paul Nelson, KSL Newsradio)

SOUTH SALT LAKE, Utah – A woman is getting high praise from police after she used an American flag to defend herself from attack.  However, investigators say they’re still puzzled why the attack happened.

LeJune Timmerman can remember seeing the alleged attacker passing by her home on 3300 South near 900 West.  At first, she didn’t think anything of it since she had never seen him before, but things turned weird very quickly.  Timmerman says the man started kissing the sidewalk, said he “had to get this done,” then attacked her and her family in their front yard.

Timmerman says, “Then, he jumped over the fence and started beating up my brothers, bad.”

The only thing Timmerman had near her that she could use as a weapon was the American flag placed in front of her porch.  She used the aluminum pole to both beat at stab the attacker.

“I hit him about 20 times, and it didn’t do no good,” she says.  “It didn’t faze him.  It didn’t do a thing.  He just looked at it and didn’t say a word.”

Timmerman’s brother, Paul Hultgren called police while the suspect, Justin Scott Smith continued to beat his siblings.  He says he even pulled out his handgun and pointed it at Smith and said he would shoot to protect his family.  Smith reportedly didn’t even flinch.

For a brief moment, they escaped and were able to get back in the house, but Smith reportedly kept coming.  Hultgren says Smith eventually kicked the door open despite him leaning against it.

“My sister and my brother were inside, and I closed the door.  [Smith] just… Boom!  Boom!  He kicked it and kicked it and kept kicking it.  I couldn’t hold it closed anymore,” he says.

Once inside, Smith reportedly grabbed Timmerman by the throat and choked her until police arrived.  Hultgren says officers came within just a few minutes, and that quick response time may have saved her life.  The attack ended just as strangely as it began, with Smith reportedly walking into Timmerman’s bedroom when the police arrived, laying down on her bed then waiting to be arrested.

The family is banged up, but Hultgren says they’re all recovering well.

He says, “I’m still shaken up.  It’s still in my brain because I’ve never been in a situation like that.”

(Hultgren and Timmerman posing with the officers who replaced their flag. Credit: South Salt Lake Police)

For a while, Timmerman says she was worried she’d get in trouble for desecrating the flag by using it as a weapon.  Those fears were put to rest when South Salt Lake police officers came back to her house to replace the flag that had been damaged.

Timmerman says, “I didn’t ask them.  They just, the next morning, brought me a new flag and I was so happy.  I knew I wasn’t going to go to jail for beating that guy.”

Police took Smith into custody and booked him for investigation into two counts of assault, one count of aggravated assault, one count of aggravated burglary and one count of criminal mischief.

The motive?  No one knows.