UPDATED: Shooting suspect wounded after manhunt near Zion followed SR-9 pursuit, two shootouts

ST. GEORGE — Police said they found a suspect with a suspected gunshot wound after a manhunt that caused the evacuation of residents in Rockville. They had been asked to shelter in place after a suspect allegedly fled on foot following a pursuit on state Route 9.

A car seen after it was shot at during a pursuit between Police agencies and a suspect on SR-9, Rockville, Utah, Oct. 6, 2021 | Photo by Ron Chaffin, St. George News

Hurricane Police Officer Dan Raddatz confirmed the suspect has been apprehended. Springdale Police said SR-9, which was closed at milepost 27, has been reopened. However, St. George News has learned that there may be additional closures and detours through the night as the investigation continues, making travel to and from Zion National Park difficult.

Later, a statement was released by the Washington County Critical Incident Task Force saying that the suspect, who remains unidentified, was found by police at 6:15 p.m. with “a suspected gunshot wound.” The statement does not specify how the suspect was wounded, but the task force responds to officer-involved shootings.

The statement also said the suspect exchanged gunfire twice with officers during the pursuit.

“As standard protocol for officer-involved shootings, investigators from the Washington County Critical Incident Task Force responded to investigate,” Lt. David Crouse, a spokesman for the task force, said. “The investigation is still in the early stages and is expected to proceed throughout the night.”

Investigators are also asking any potential victims who have yet to speak with police, to contact dispatch at 435-634-5730 to speak with an investigator.

Police said the pursuit began after a gunman brandished a weapon at the Dairy Queen in Hurricane following an argument around 3:40 p.m. Crouse said responding officers tried to initiate a traffic stop of a silver Ford pickup truck that matched the description of the suspect’s vehicle.

Police agencies respond after a report of an active shooter on SR-9, Rockville, Utah, Oct. 6, 2021 | Photo by Ron Chaffin, St. George News

Police said the vehicle then fled and as police pursued the vehicle, the driver began shooting at vehicles as the vehicle continued through LaVerkin, then headed toward Zion National Park on SR-9. Raddatz said “five to six” vehicles were shot at.

Crouse said at milepost 25 near Grafton, officers deployed a spike strip. As the vehicle passed the spikes, Crouse said the suspect and officers exchanged gunfire.

The vehicle continued on for another two miles to Rockville before the vehicle crashed. The suspect again exchanged gunfire with officers before fleeing into the residential neighborhood off SR-9 and Bridge Road, Crouse said.

“We need people to stay away from the Rockville area and we have been evacuating residents slowly and safely,” Radditz said during the ensuing manhunt that lasted from 4 p.m. until nearly three hours later. He added that the suspect was a resident of Rockville.

The suspect was located with the gunshot wound and transported by ambulance to St. George Regional Hospital. The suspect’s condition after reaching the hospital is unknown.

Multiple police agencies from federal, state and local agencies were involved in the pursuit and ensuing manhunt. Witnesses said the suspect shot at multiple vehicles during the pursuit, including a car where the window on the driver’s side could be seen blown out.

SR-9 was closed in both directions at Rockville, causing a large backup from Zion National Park and Springdale that could be seen through Utah Department of Transportation traffic cams.

The main focus of the manhunt was centered along the Virgin River south of SR-9 and to the west of Bridge Road.

Police were asking residents in Rockville to keep their windows and doors locked. The suspect was described as a white male in his 50s wearing glasses with a salt and pepper goatee, wearing a gray shirt with a blue hat.

The Hurricane Police Department was the primary agency looking for the suspect, but SWAT teams from both St. George and Washington County were also spotted. The Utah Highway Patrol and Washington City Police also assisted in the pursuit.

Updated 9:30 p.m., Oct. 6, 2021:  Video added.

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