Police: Woman shot in Steamboat is up, walking | SteamboatToday.com

Police: Woman shot in Steamboat is up, walking

Law enforcement to review response policy after shooting

Zach Fridell

— Rhonda Cash was up and walking after a surgery to remove a bullet from her spine, Steamboat Springs Police Department Chief JD Hays said Thursday.

Cash was shot, reportedly by her husband, Robert Cash, on June 11 at the couple's home on Iris Lane. Robert Cash then shot himself in the chest, police have said. Robert and Rhonda Cash were first taken to Yampa Valley Medical Center and then flown to St. Anthony's Central Hospital in Denver.

Hays said Robert Cash was still in a coma based on the last update he had heard. The hospital is declining to provide updates on the Cashes' conditions to the media.

After the shooting, police also are looking at their procedure. In an e-mail to the Steamboat Springs City Council and the Steamboat Pilot & Today on Thursday, Hays wrote that the department wants to improve some aspects of the response to emergency situations.

"Since the incident, the SSPD has received much praise for their professional action and some criticism for the delayed rescue," Hays said in the e-mail. "We have even been critical of ourselves, which is what most teams do following a critical incident to ensure we are providing the most effective and efficient response. What is important for non-law-enforcement personnel to understand are the principles employed by tactical teams."

As one improvement, the department is going to move the Emergency Response Team vehicle — a specialized green truck that holds tools including the battering ram and shields — from a lot near the Steamboat Springs Animal Shelter to the Police Department lot at Yampa and Eighth streets.

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Hays wrote that the response from that truck was slower because of the construction on Lincoln Avenue. That construction was blocking the access to 13th Street from town.

The department also created a better call-out procedure for Routt County Communications workers to follow, Hays wrote, to reduce the time it takes to notify the tactical team members.

The initial call came at about 9:30 a.m. Hays wrote that Rhonda Cash's co-workers became concerned when Robert Cash called to say his wife would not be coming to work. Earlier reports said only that co-workers were concerned because Rhonda Cash had not arrived at work.

Officers were at the house by 9:37 a.m. and then heard a shot from inside. Hays said he was notified of the incident at 10:10 a.m. by Capt. Joel Rae but clarified that he was not on scene until 10:30 a.m. because he was coming from the west side of town. Hays wrote that other members of the police force were notified at other times — dispatchers called Capt. Bob DelValle at 9:48 a.m., and after he gathered his tactical equipment from the Police Department, DelValle arrived at 10:20 a.m. Hays wrote that four members of the tactical team arrived at 10:50 a.m. after picking up the response truck. Eight officers entered the house at 11 a.m.

Hays said in the e-mail that it was important to get the crews and equipment there because "historically, police response to domestic violence causes the highest number of casualties to police."

Hays said the house was cleared within 15 seconds, and within minutes, paramedics were called into the house to take the couple to the hospital.

— To reach Zach Fridell, call 871-4208 or e-mail zfridell@steamboatpilot.com