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Suspect in Pleasant Grove shelter-in-place identified

Mar 16, 2021, 3:58 PM | Updated: Mar 17, 2021, 5:07 pm
Pleasant Grove police shelter in place...
Area of Pleasant Grove where police have issued a shelter-in-place order, after a man was seen pointing a gun at bystanders. Photo credit: Paul Nelson

PLEASANT GROVE, UT  — The Pleasant Grove Police Department has identified the man involved in a stand-off in Pleasant Grove on Tuesday. 

Robert Sterling Clark was booked into the Utah County Jail Tuesday night for aggravated assault, attempted aggravated murder, attempted murder, and the felony discharge of a weapon in city limits.

And residents report that things are are returning back to normal after police say a man fired his rifle, threatened bystanders, and shot at police officers Tuesday.  Luckily, no one was injured.

Residents living near 500 North and 500 East in Pleasant Grove say they’ve never seen anything like this in their neighborhood.  Dave Passey was picking up his son from school when he was told the area was on lockdown.

“All of the sudden, all of these units, SWAT, police and the fire department showed up,” he says.


 

Investigators say they were called to the scene after the man fired several shots around 2:30 p.m.  Police Captain Britt Smith says the man pointed the weapon at bystanders, but didn’t fire.  After police arrived, Smith says they tried to negotiate his surrender, but those talks broke down quickly and the suspect became more violent.

Smith says, “He exited the residence for a short period of time to fire upon law enforcement.”

Officers returned fire, but no one was hit.

Smith says the shooting and the standoff were all sparked by the suspect’s mental health breakdown and despite the gunfire, they still wanted to take him into custody safely.

“We just wanted a peaceful outcome. We didn’t want to push the issue.  We wanted everybody to come out of this safe,” according to Smith.

Around 6 p.m., nearby residents and reporters thought they heard another round of gunfire, but Smith says those sounds were made by gas canisters being fired into the house.  Police had to fire multiple canisters because of the home’s layout.  Eventually, police contained the man into one room and the suspect surrendered, which surprised Smith.

(Medics and officers on the scene as the suspect was taken into custody before 9 p.m. Credit: Paul Nelson)

“Based on some of the statements he was making to law enforcement and the threats he was making, it did surprise us that he surrendered.  We were extremely grateful,” he says.

The suspect will be charged with something, although Smith can’t be certain what the charges will be, nor can he say specifically how the man’s mental health will weigh into those charges.

He says, “It’s not law enforcement’s job to determine culpability.  That’s up to the courts.”

 

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Suspect in Pleasant Grove shelter-in-place identified