This archived article was written by: Seth Richards
The USU Eastern Price campus was in a state of near lock down and confusion on Tuesday, Sept. 25, when a local resident allegedly shot a high-powered rifle into the air near campus.
At about 6 p.m., Officer Cletus Steele, of campus police, was in the parking lot behind the USU Eastern purchasing and receiving building when he heard the report of what he identified as a high-powered rifle. Steele was the first officer on scene at 660 North 200 East, Price.
Price City Police, who were short handed that evening, arrived five or six minutes after the shooting, followed by the county and state police. Helper Police Chief Trent Anderson and USU Eastern Police Chief James Prettyman came later to assist. The officer on duty in Wellington offered to assist, but wasn’t needed at the time. Sergeant tracy Allred was the first of the city police to take charge, but was relieved shortly after by Captain Bill Barnes.
Attempting to contact the resident, Ralph Schade, the police were unable to find any phone numbers for him. Unable to get a car close enough to the house without putting an officer in danger due to the distance of the front of the house to the street and the alley running parallel to the back, the police attempted to contact Schade by megaphone.
Witnesses claim that they saw Schade step into his front yard and fire two to four times into the air with either a high-powered rifle or a shotgun, to both of which types of weapon he, as a hunter, would have had access. None of these witnesses claim to have seen him leave; the city police speculate that this could have been easily done through the alley behind the house.
According to a KSL report and the Price City Police, Schade and his wife deny any involvement.
On scene, Steele called Prettyman with what he knew. Prettyman then contacted Blaney Hanvey, residential life coordinator. Hanvey sent texts to the residential advisors, “Please have all residents stay inside. We need them to stay out of the way of police. Don’t give any more information to residents. There is a possible gun.”
Hanvey later clarified that the request not to give further information to residents was in an effort to stop the spread of rumors and not a gag order.
Officer Jason Marshal, who was in the Bunnel Dmitrich Athletic Center, was asked to advise as many students as possible, that they should avoid north Price if they needed to leave campus, not to loiter outdoors and to stay out of the way of the police.
Marshal started in the Western Instructional Building, closest to the shooting, and the Jennifer Leavitt Student Center. The BDAC was also effectively closed.
Nobody was locked down.” Prettyman said, “People perceived it as being a lockdown. It really didn’t meet the definition because we didn’t send out a Code Blue warning.”
After conferring with Steve Mecham, USU director of public safety, Prettyman contacted Brad King, vice chancellor for administration and advancement, and Alex Herzog, associate vice chancellor for student services, in an attempt to execute a Code Blue emergency warning. Although, at the time, only 136 students and faculty at USU Eastern were signed up for Code Blue, it would have made taken the school a step closer to a lockdown.
Judy Crockett, USU emergency management coordinator might have sent out the code blue, had she not first contacted Prettyman who told her, between 60 and 90 minutes after the shots were fired, Schade was located in Wellington with his wife. A Price officer was then dispatched to arrest him.
Schade has been charged with use of a firearm within city limits, a class B misdemeanor, and released.