Police: Steamboat man shot wife, self | SteamboatToday.com

Police: Steamboat man shot wife, self

Officers stormed into west Steamboat home after hearing gunshot

Zach Fridell

A pair of moose stands near the doorway of a home on Blackberry Lane on Nov. 29. The animals snacked on the trees in the front yard of the home. Randy Hampton

— A Steamboat Springs woman was shot in the back of the neck by her husband at about 6:30 a.m. Friday, police said, and crawled from her bedroom to the bathroom, where she waited until police rushed into the house more than four hours later.

Police were not called about the initial shot, but Rhonda Cash's co-workers called and asked them to check on her when she did not arrive at work at a dental office. Her husband, Robert Cash, reportedly shot himself in the chest at about 9:30 a.m. as officers arrived to check the house at 2739 Iris Lane. Police entered the house at about 11 a.m.

Robert Cash, 55, and RhonĀ­da Cash, 48, were conscious and breathing immediately after the incident. On Friday night, Rhonda Cash was listed in critical condition at St. Anthony Central Hospital in Denver. Police said a bullet was lodged in her spine.

Police said Robert Cash was going into surgery at Yampa Valley Medical Center on Friday evening and that he might be flown to Denver, as well. Nurses at YVMC said they had no Robert Cash listed as a patient Friday evening, but police Capt. Joel Rae said Robert Cash was alive and could not confirm whether he had been moved to a different hospital.

Police Chief JD Hays said that when officers arrived at the house at 9:37 a.m., they knocked on the door, yelled Rhonda Cash's name and then heard a gunshot. That shot apparently was when Robert Cash shot himself in the chest, police said.

Police waited for the emergency response team to assemble before entering the house.

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During that time, police and dispatchers repeatedly tried to call Rhonda Cash's cell phone. At about 10:25 a.m., she answered her phone and Detective Nick Bosick talked with her, Rae said. Police still did not know where the man was in the house, and Rhonda Cash was unable to leave the house because of her injuries.

At about 11 a.m., eight officers entered the house through the front door and used a flash-bang grenade. No shots were fired. Officers found Rhonda Cash in the bathroom and Robert Cash in a bedroom.

Rae said Robert Cash used a .38-caliber handgun in the shooting.

Rae said there was no history of police responding to the house for any type of domestic argument. Robert Cash does not have any record of criminal cases more serious than a traffic ticket in the local courts.

Rhonda and Robert Cash filed for divorce in April. According to the petition for divorce, the two were married Nov. 16, 2005, and separated Feb. 23 this year. As in all divorce cases in Colorado, there is no reason given. The divorce petition states that the couple has no children together, and neither person had a protection order against the other. The house on Iris Lane was for sale.

Realtor Peggy Garrett said she was stunned to hear about the shooting. She had an appointment to meet with the Cashes at the home at 10 a.m. Friday so they could sign real estate documents.

"The only reason I didn't make the appointment was because I couldn't find my camera," an audibly shaken Garrett said Friday. "I talked to Bob last night, and he said he had just manicured the lawn and wanted some new pictures."

Before she could round up the camera and leave for the Cash home, she said, acquaintances who heard about the unfolding incident told her not to go.

Garrett said she had been referred to the couple by one of their relatives in the real estate business. She said she found them easy to work with.

"I had a real good rapport with them," Garrett said.

Garrett said the couple authorized her to make it public that they needed to sell the house because they were divorcing.

"I'm devastated," Garrett said. "They are two very good people."

Rae confirmed that Rhonda Cash has two adult daughters, and police confirmed that Rhonda Cash works at Rabbit Ears Dental Office.

Robert Cash worked as a bagger and checker for more than 10 years at City Market, Assistant Manager Jason Dorr said. Robert Cash stopped working at the store several months ago, but Dorr could not say if he was fired or if he quit.

"Everybody at the store is very shocked and can't believe that this happened. Bob was well-liked in the store," Dorr said. "All our hearts and souls are with them both and their families."

Police got a warrant and searched the house in the afternoon, Detectives Capt. Bob DelValle said. He said it was not clear Friday whether Robert Cash lawfully owned the gun.

Additional material from Pilot & Today reporter Tom Ross