AMERICAN FORK — Dell "Super Dell" Schanze is facing a criminal charge for allegedly target shooting too close to neighboring homes.
Schanze was charged last month in Utah County Justice Court with discharging a firearm within 600 feet of a dwelling, a class B misdemeanor.
The alleged incident occurred Jan. 2 at Schanze's home west of American Fork in unincorporated Utah County. According to state law, a person may not fire a weapon in that area within 600 feet of a house without written permission from neighbors.
Utah County Sheriff's Sgt. Spencer Cannon said three neighbors called the sheriff's office that day to report shots being fired. One neighboring house was about 300 feet away, and one person said he could hear bullets flying past his house, Cannon said.
The deputy responding to the call also noted that he could hear shots while en route to Schanze's house. Once there, shell casings were found on Schanze's back deck and targets were set up, Cannon said.
An arraignment originally scheduled for last week was continued until Feb. 19. Schanze, 49, wrote a letter to the court asking for a continuance because he had been out of state on business trips.
"It is my every intention to comply with the court requirements as soon as possible," he wrote.
Past run-ins with the law
Schanze — founder of Totally Awesome Computers and Totally Awesome Guns and Range, a three-time candidate for Utah's governor, and known for his vociferous personality, particularly in his TV commercials — has had a few public run-ins with the law over the past decade.
In 2015, he pleaded guilty in federal court to using his motorized paraglider to harass wildlife and pursuing a migratory bird, both misdemeanors. The charges were sparked by a video posted to YouTube that showed Schanze chasing and kicking an owl while parasailing. He was sentenced to probation.
During his federal court proceedings in that case, while pleading with the judge not to remove his guns from his house pending trial, Schanze contended that a human head had once been thrown through his window. Police said no reports consistent with such claims had been filed.
Prosecutors also pointed to Schanze's arrest record during those same proceedings, noting that he had arrests for investigation of charges of concealed weapons violations dating back to 1992. His defense attorney countered that most, if not all, of those weapons charges were later dismissed in court.
Schanze himself told a judge that his record reads like a "record of awesomeness" and the incidents cited by prosecutors showed he was "being a hero in the community" because he was defending either himself or his family in every situation.
Schanze was sentenced to a year of probation.
In 2006, he pleaded no-contest to creating a public nuisance for flying his motorized paraglider over I-15 in Draper.
In 2005, Schanze was charged and accused of displaying a gun during a heated argument with neighbors upset that he was speeding through their neighborhood. He was acquitted of the gun charge but found guilty of giving false information to police.
Schanze did not immediately return requests by KSL for comment Monday.