This is why I carry a gun when I go to school. I walk through the University Hospital complex where this guy initially escaped almost every day.
Neo-Nazi inmate kills guard at hospital, steals SUV before being nabbed at fast food restaurant
By Russ Rizzo and Nate Carlisle
The Salt Lake Tribune
Article Last Updated: 06/25/2007 01:48:08 PM MDT
Updated: 1:14 PM- A fast food restaurant customer helped end the brief, bloody escape of a convict who allegedly shot and killed his guard at University of Utah Medical Center this morning then led police on a high-speed chase.
Corrections spokesman Jack Ford says 27-year-old Curtis Michael Allgier was taken to the hospital's orthopedic unit about 7:45 a.m. for undisclosed treatment. Somehow, he got the officer's firearm and shot him in the head. The officer, 22-year Corrections veteran Stephen Anderson, 60, of Bluffdale, died at the scene.
Allgier, whose face is covered in tattoos, then carjacked a nearby blue Ford SUV, forcing its occupants out at gunpoint.
Scott Folson, director of public safety for the university, said Allgier, complaining of lower back pain, had been scheduled for an MRI at the U.'s orthopedic center this morning. The prisoner and the corrections officer were alone together in an exam room next to the MRI machine at the time of the shooting, he said.
The university contracts with the state prison system to treat inmates.
"It's pretty much a daily occurrence for inmates to be transferred to the orthopedic center or main hospital," Folson said.
Tom Patterson, executive director of the Department of Corrections, said usually only one corrections officer accompanies a prisoner to the hospital, and it appeared procedure was followed in this case.
Since metal cannot be used in the MRI machine, it's likely Allgier's metal shackles were removed and he was placed in plastic cuffs, he said.
Although police knew the suspect had fled in the SUV, the hospital and two nearby buildings were locked down while officers confirmed there was no longer a threat, Folson said.
He said he thinks this is the first homicide in the university's history.
About 45 minutes after the shooting, police were chasing the SUV, with speeds in excess of 100 mph. Several squad cars reportedly were in an accident during the chase, which ended at 1700 South and Redwood Road about 8:25 a.m. not long after police had partially disabled the vehicle with tire spikes. The suspect fled into an Arby's restaurant, the SUV lurching to a stop as he jumped out.
Inside the Arby's, an employee was struck on the head by the suspect. He staggered outside and was dragged away from the restaurant and taken to a hospital, said Salt Lake City Police Sgt. Rich Brede.
Salt Lake City Police Lt. Mike Ross said a 59-year-old Arby's customer is "the hero in this thing. He wrestled the gun away." The man, who did not want to be identified or interviewed by the media for fear of retaliation, fought with the suspect and suffered a cut that required several stitches, Ross said.
By 8:40 a.m., Allgier was found, unarmed -- the gun was found in the restaurant later -- in the manager's office and taken into custody.
Mark Setterman was in his car at the stoplight in the northbound lanes of Redwood Road at 1700 South, when a Ford Explorer -- with a blown right tire and police in pursuit -- came up from behind and drove around him
He said the SUV pulled into the parking lot of the Arby's at the intersection and the driver ran inside.
"They were all over his ass," Setterman said of police. "Probably about 100 of them from the way it looked."
He says that shortly thereafter, police -- many with assault weapons -- removed the man from the Arby's.
Setterman described the driver of the SUV as white and covered in tatoos.
For Shirley Smiley, it was a case of horrific deja vu. She was shopping at downtown Salt Lake City's Trolley Square mall earlier this year when a gunman went on a deadly shooting ramage before being killed by police.
Smiley says she was at the Arby's for breakfast with her husband and 16-year-old son and the three had just exited the restaurant when they heard a "pop" from inside. Seconds later, several police cars pulled in and officers moved in. The family laid down on the parking lot asphalt at officers' orders.
"I was pretty scared," Smiley said. "I'm still in a state of panic."
The assistant manager at the McDonald's next door saw the SUV pull into the Arby's drive-through lane. Homero Lara said he caught a glimpse of someone as they ran inside, then he heard three gunshots.
Lara said he locked all the doors and shut the windows of his restaurant then herded about six customers and 12 employees into the kitchen, where they hid for about half an hour.
McDonald's employee Angelica Basquez was cleaning when she saw the Arby's manager jump out through the drive-through window. She said she saw him and a couple of other people run away.
"Arbys has been robbed in the past, so we thought it was the same thing," Basquez said.
Melodie Rydalch, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Salt Lake City, said prosecutors likely will file a federal firearms charge against Allgier. If convicted in state court of the slaying of the officer, a conviction on the federal charge would bring a more severe sentence based on the underlying crime.
Allgier was being considered for transport to a federal facility in the near future, according to the DOC's Patterson.
"This inmate is a bit peculiar in that he has ties to white supremacist organixzations," he said. "And he had had some dynamics there that caused us to be concerned with his own safety [at Utah State Prison]. There had been some fallout from some other supremacists in the prison -- a falling out, so to speak."