Update: SWAT team breaches front door with armored vehicle ending standoff in Pleasant Grove

Robert Sterling Clark. Photo Courtesy: Utah County Jail

PLEASANT GROVE, Utah, March 18, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — More details have been released following a SWAT standoff in Pleasant Grove Tuesday.

A probable cause statement from Utah County said Robert Sterling Clark, 37, is facing charges of:

  • Attempted murder, a first-degree felony
  • Four counts of attempted aggravated murder, a first-degree felony
  • Aggravated assault, a third-degree felony
  • Felony discharge of a firearm, a third-degree felony

On Tuesday at 2:40 p.m. 911 was called by a neighbor of 550 East 500 North in Pleasant Grove, which is Clark’s residence. The caller reported seeing a man at that address with a gun, and then seeing and hearing him shoot the firearm into the air, the probable cause statement said.

The reporting party told the 911 dispatcher his brother had confronted the man with the firearm at 550 East 500 North and told him to stop.

“The male then pointed the firearm at the caller’s brother and then continued to shoot the firearm into the air,” the statement said. “Clark’s statement after his arrest was he shot at his neighbor with a single shot because he was a fake Marine and would not stand down.”

An officer found a spent shot wad in the street between the neighbor’s house and Clark’s house. The dispatcher also documented hearing the shots on the 911 call.

“Another caller reported driving by the residence at the time this incident began,” the statement said. “She also reported the male shot at her vehicle as she drove past.”

Officers were dispatched to Clark’s address. Witnesses stated Clark was heard yelling and shooting multiple times. Officers who initially responded and spoke to witnesses determined that Clark had shot into the air approximately eight times with a rifle before they arrived. When officers arrived at the address they observed Clark was on a second-floor balcony of the residence shooting a rifle several more times. After officers arrived and began to set up a perimeter, the officers said they observed Clark fire several more shots in their direction.

“Officers began evacuating neighbors by going door to door and by reverse 911 in the area,” the statement said. “Officers attempted to contact Mr. Clark, but Mr. Clark had retreated into the residence and ignored their efforts to contact him. After a short time, Mr. Clark appeared at a door with a window in the back of the residence. Mr. Clark appeared to be yelling at the officers, however, he could not be understood because as he was attempting to yell through the closed door.”

Clark appeared to be agitated; it was later found family members of Clark have called in to report they have knowledge of the suspect not taking his medication for his mental illness for the past several months, the probable cause statement said.

“At approximately 4:11 p.m., officers on scene reported additional shots from inside the residence exiting through the back door. At 4:19 p.m. officers reported a single gunshot directed towards them. One officer returned fire with a single shot towards Mr. Clark,” the statement said.

The suspect told investigators that the shot hit the wood on the deck and wood splinters in the deck hit him in his lower right leg.

Clark then opened the south ground level door of the residence and fired another shot.

“Utah County joint SWAT team arrived on the scene and officers who initially responded were asked to withdraw,” the statement said. “For several hours Utah County SWAT negotiators attempted to convince Mr. Clark to exit his residence, but Mr. Clark refused. Clark told Utah County SWAT members that he was prepared with a lot of ammo and if they were going to come inside he was going kill them all.”

SWAT introduced gas into the residence in an effort to get Clark to exit, but those efforts failed. SWAT then breached the front door and front window of the residence with an armored vehicle. After the door and window had been breached, SWAT members observed Clark inside the front room holding a shotgun. Officers at that point ordered Clark to put the shotgun down and exit the residence. He complied and was immediately taken into custody.

“At this time of Clark’s arrest he was found with a large knife strapped to his leg, shotgun shells in his vest pockets, and he was armed with a shotgun,” the statement said. “Clark has failed to take medication for paranoid schizophrenia for several months. Clark has alienated himself from all his family and has stated that he hasn’t left his residence since September of 2020. Clark stated he doesn’t trust the local police because they eat zombie flesh and stated his neighbor is making zombie meat in his backyard in a zombie

Pleasant Grove police officers have had multiple contacts with Clark and have documented a history of mental illness, domestic violence, and drug use.

He was transported to Utah County Jail, where he is being held without bail.


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