Peaceful end to gunshot scare near Price campus
Multiple gunshots fired in north Price on Tuesday evening led to a tense 90 minutes as lawmen surrounded the area and the nearby USU Eastern campus went into lockdown.
The situation was resolved peacefully when it was discovered that the suspect had apparently slipped off to Wellington immediately after firing the shots and was not home when officers from Price, the Sheriff's Department, Utah Highway Patrol, Helper, Wellington and campus police converged on the 600 North block of 200 East Street.
Price Police Captain Bill Barnes said the suspect, 45-year-old Ralph Schade, was taken into custody at about 8 p.m. without incident. The captain said Schade has been cited for unlawful discharge of a firearm within city limits and that the city attorney is reviewing to see if additional charges are warranted. Schade has no criminal history and apparently had no intention of harming himself or others, Barnes added.
Meanwhile, a woman identifying herself as Carrol Schade, the suspect's wife, called the Sun Advocate Wednesday afternoon and strongly denied her husband's involvement in the incident. She claimed that she and her husband were nowhere near the home at the time of the gunshots.
Capt. Barnes stood by his department's action, restating that the citation was issued as the result of police investigation. "They will have their day in court," he said of Ms. Schade's statement.
The incident began at about 6:30 p.m. when numerous callers reported hearing two to four shots fired. One of the callers witnessed the shots, so it was confirmed that the sounds were not fireworks. Law enforcement officers from multiple agencies coordinated their efforts to cordon off the street and surround the house.
The site is less than a block away from the college's West Instructional Building. Alerts went out via text messages to students, faculty and staff. Several spectators at the Carbon High School volleyball game received those alerts simultaneously and spread the word to stay inside or away from the campus.
For the next hour and a half, officers tried to make contact with Schade, who was assumed to be inside the home. There was no way to make phone contact, so police used a megaphone to try to reach him.
Barnes said the objective was to resolve the situation peacefully, so there was no threat or attempt to charge the home.
Meanwhile, word was apparently spreading among people in the area who were listening to the notifications on public safety dispatch on their scanners. Calls reached Wellington officer Nick Bates who was able to find Schade at a home in that town and hold him until Price police arrived, according to Wellington Police Chief Lee Barry.
The incident left people in the county skittish. Shots were reported Wednesday in Spring Glen at about 9 a.m. They came from a resident who was in the hills sighting in his deer hunting rifle.