Man found dead by SWAT officers following standoff in Cedar City

A police vehicle blocks off a street during a standoff near 2900 West and 5050 North, north of Cedar City, Utah, May 31, 2021 | Photo courtesy of Jonathan Harris, St. George News / Cedar City News

CEDAR CITY — A man was found dead inside his own residence following an hourslong standoff on Memorial Day.

According to a news release issued Tuesday by Iron County Sheriff’s Office, deputies were dispatched at approximately 11 a.m. Monday to investigate a reported assault in an unincorporated neighborhood north of Cedar City, near 5100 North and 2800 West.

“Deputies were advised a female caller stated there was a shirtless male wearing blue jeans covered in blood carrying an AR-15 style rifle who said he was attacked and needed assistance as he had been assaulted by someone and had the rifle for protection,” the news release stated.

The gunman, who was later identified as 61-year-old David Peterson, was reportedly bleeding from a head wound and had demanded that the neighbor use her cell phone to call 911.

Several homes along 2900 West and neighboring streets were evacuated as a precaution, Lt. Del Schlosser told Cedar City News.

“There were residences that were evacuated due to safety concerns,” he said. “They were taken out of the area and then allowed back in the area once the scene was secure.”

Officers from the Iron County Metro SWAT team set up a perimeter around an unsecured residence located at approximately 2900 West and 5050 North, the sheriff’s office said. K-9 officers were called to assist in clearing the building, as it was initially believed Peterson might have been hiding in the attic.

After eventually determining that Peterson was not inside that residence, the officers turned their attention to the house next door to the north, where Peterson lived.

After seeing an open front window, along with a broken rear window, in addition to a dog inside Peterson’s residence, deputies made repeated attempts to communicate with Peterson via loudspeaker.

“After several hours of deputies attempting to make contact at the residence and after a search warrant was granted, the SWAT team gained entrance,” the news release states.

Aerial drone photograph showing blocked-off streets during a standoff near 2900 West and 5050 North, north of Cedar City, Utah, May 31, 2021 | Photo courtesy of Jonathan Harris, St. George News / Cedar City News

“While clearing the residence, SWAT located an AR-15 firearm covered in blood under the front window,” the release says. “Also, while clearing the residence, SWAT located several weapons positioned throughout the house in what appeared to be readiness for a firefight.”

However, Peterson was found to be already dead inside the home when officers entered, according to the release.

The cause of Peterson’s death is still under investigation, Schlosser said, adding that there are no other individuals believed to have been involved.

Even so, that does not necessarily mean that Peterson took his own life, Schlosser said. “Currently, it doesn’t appear that way. It may be a medical issue, or it could be a number of things. We don’t know yet.”

Schlosser said the scene was cleared by approximately 8 p.m. Monday.

In addition to Iron County Sheriff’s Office and the Metro SWAT team, personnel from multiple agencies also responded to the incident, including Cedar City Police, Enoch Police, Parowan Police, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, U.S. Forest Service, Cedar City Fire Department and Gold Cross Ambulance.

This report is based on information provided by law enforcement and may not contain the full scope of findings.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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