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Suspect released, taken back into custody one week after exchanging gunfire with police

Posted at 9:12 PM, Mar 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-25 10:29:42-04

PLEASANT GROVE, Utah — One week after a Pleasant Grove man barricaded himself in his home for nearly six hours and allegedly exchanged gunfire with police a Utah County 4th District Court Judge released him from custody. He was taken back into custody Wednesday night.

Robert ‘Sterling’ Clark was taken into custody after the standoff and was booked on felony charges of murder among other charges. However, Clark was released roughly one week later.

Read: Man in custody after firing at officers in Pleasant Grove

“From our perspective it’s a real tragedy that he’s out, Mr. Clark is, we believe a danger to our society and we believe someone that aught to be in jail,” said Utah County Attorney David Leavitt.

Leavitt had four days to file charges after Clark was taken into custody. He says that his office didn’t receive a police report until Friday evening, and after the weekend, filed a motion to extend with the court in order to give his office a few days to gather evidence and file charges. “Filing a motion to extend the detention in serious cases like this is not uncommon, what happened, where the breakdown was in the court, I can’t say.”

Leavitt says the courts did not see the motion and opted to release Clark from custody. He was booked out of Utah County Jail on Tuesday around 3 p.m.

Read: Utah's governor signs COVID-19 'endgame' bill lifting statewide mask mandate April 10

“We’ve been working with law enforcement to ensure that we collect Mr. Clark again safely but we have to understand that the last time we arrested Mr. Clark it was after an armed standoff and so I’m worried, I’m nervous,” said Leavitt. “My job as the county attorney is to protect the public and we’re doing everything we can to make sure the publics protected.”

Noting his mental health diagnosis as someone who is suffering from Schizophrenia, Clark’s uncle and homeowner of the Pleasant Grove property Bob Carroll is also concerned with his release.

“I feel like that was the real failure for Sterling, from my understanding of the process that took place after that is he was bussed from Spanish Fork to Provo, he was dropped off at a county building, they gave him a map of locations for free food and sent him on his way,” said Carroll. “We don’t know where the best help for him is.”

Carroll says that he’s had constant communication with neighbors. Some are willing to come by and help clean up the property, while others are unsure if it’s safe to be outside after last week’s shootout and standoff.

“Tranquility’s going to come back to 500 north it’s been tranquil neighborhood and the neighbors are very friendly, very tight community here and so what happened last Tuesday rocked their world,” said Carroll.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the Utah County Attorney’s Office filed four felony charges against Clark and had a warrant for his arrest signed and delivered to the Pleasant Grove Police Department.

Officials say Clark was taken back into custody Wednesday night. His condition and the circumstances around his arrest were not immediately available.