EVANSTON — A local man was taken into custody following a several-hour standoff with police on the afternoon of Thursday, March 18, after law enforcement was dispatched to the Super 8 Motel on Harrison Drive following a 911 call about a man being shot in the head. Bryce Salazar was arrested on a charge of criminal intent after police were able to successfully resolve the situation, which resulted in neighborhood streets being closed off and area schools being placed on lockdown due to reports of shots being fired.
Evanston Police Officer James Schmidt was the first to arrive on scene at the Super 8 shortly after 1 p.m. on Thursday when a call came into dispatch about a victim with a gunshot wound to the head. While en route to the scene, officers were advised shots were being fired in room 228 of the motel. According to Schmidt’s report, he entered the motel office with weapon drawn due to reports of continued gunshots and found a man, later identified as Kalpesh Patel, with what appeared to be a gunshot wound to the forehead.
Patel was conscious and speaking, according to Schmidt’s report, but appeared to be in shock and was bleeding profusely. Schmidt asked about the location of the shooter, at which time Patel said he was uncertain but knew the shooter, identified as Salazar, was living in room 228 of the motel. Schmidt worked to secure the area and then rendered assistance to Patel as additional officers arrived on scene. Officers provided security for emergency medical crews arriving to care for Patel, who was taken to Evanston Regional Hospital via ambulance.
A detailed time report of communications with dispatch shows AirMed was alerted of a victim with a gunshot wound to the head possibly needing transport within minutes of the first call being received, although air transport was ultimately not needed.
Meanwhile, officers began trying to make contact with Salazar in room 228, but he did not respond to calls to the telephone in the room or text messages to the cell phone number they were able to obtain. Because Salazar did not respond and because of the dangerous situation due to the reported gunshots, officers prepared to approach the room with ballistic shields and less lethal weapons. Police then moved up the stairwell to the second floor of the motel and used a non-lethal firearm to shoot out the window of room 228.
Officers then tried to speak directly to Salazar through the broken window; however, he still failed to respond.
A pole was then utilized to pull the drapes from the window so officers could see inside, and they determined Salazar was behind a makeshift barricade inside the room. At one point, Salazar reportedly emerged from behind the barricade holding a bottle of vodka and a cell phone. Officers reportedly observed the motel room to be full of garbage and boxes, several of which had pictures of what appeared to be air rifles on them.
Eventually, officers were able to convince Salazar to approach the window for verbal negotiations in an attempt to get him to leave the room; however, those efforts were unsuccessful.
At one point Salazar turned his back and began to return to the barricade, at which point officers seized the opportunity to reach through the window and unlock the door to enter and take Salazar into custody.
A subsequent search of the room reportedly found two Ruger air rifles and a Bear River air rifle. One of the Rugers was reportedly “a .22-caliber air rifle with a break barrel, which is super accurate and fires an 18-grain domed pellet at an approximate rate of 1,000 feet per second, and the remaining two were .177-caliber air rifles capable of firing at a rate of 1,350 feet per second. These two high-powered air rifles are used for hunting small game and are extremely accurate.” The .22-caliber air rifle was reportedly within easy reach of where Salazar had constructed his barricade while the other two were hidden in other areas of the motel room.
At ERH, Patel, the victim, was interviewed by EPD Officer Ben Gilmore after it was determined his injuries were believed to have been caused by an air rifle that had not punctured the skull. Patel said he had been cleaning floors outside the motel when Salazar stepped out of room 228, pointed a rifle at him and shot him. Patel told officers he believed he was going to die.
Salazar was also taken to ERH for medical clearance after arrest, before being transported to the Uinta County Jail. Documents filed with Uinta County Circuit Court indicate Salazar has been charged with attempted murder in the first degree and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.