Utah man charged with apartment arson, found carrying loaded gun near Ogden marathon runners

Utah man charged with apartment arson, found carrying loaded gun near Ogden marathon runners

(Weber County Sheriff's Office)

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OGDEN — A man is facing criminal charges after officers found him walking near Ogden Marathon participants with a loaded shotgun and later discovered he'd allegedly set his apartment on fire.

Richard Jason Gallegos, 40, of Ogden, was charged Monday in 2nd District Court with aggravated arson, a first-degree felony, and felony discharge of a firearm, a third-degree felony.

The strange series of events began on Saturday when police working at the Ogden Marathon received a possible bomb threat call, according to charging documents. They later saw Gallegos "walking near participants with a shotgun," police said.

Because of the recent bomb threat, they arrested him after a "small foot chase," the charges state. His shotgun had "a single live round still in the gun," police said.

Gallegos told officers that his apartment was on fire, according to the charges. A short time later, dispatchers received a fire call at 425 Park Blvd., where police say Gallegos leases an apartment.

Police arrived to the "locked and barricaded" apartment. "Maintenance (workers) also advised that they had observed him on the camera, breaking out the window of the second floor apartment and jumping out," the charges state.

While speaking with officers, Gallegos gave "several different causes for the fire to include a person throwing a Molotov (cocktail), and that it had just started," according to police.

Inside the apartment, officers found other doors barricaded, a burned area, ammunition and a rifle, the charges state. Those items, as well as other evidence, led them to believe Gallegos had set the fire. Several apartments nearby were occupied, police said, and could have been ignited.

A neighbor told police she'd earlier heard loud knocking on the wall adjoining her and Gallegos' apartments, the charges state. Shortly after, a gunshot was fired through the wall in her direction, police said. It missed her.

"She left the apartment to see what was happening. At this time Richard was outside, having leapt from his window. The victim was approached by him and he demanded her keys to her car," police wrote. During that interaction, the woman reported he pointed the gun at her, the charges state.

Fearing for her life, the woman went to retrieve her keys and Gallegos ran away toward Washington Boulevard where officers saw him near marathon runners, police said.


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Ashley Imlay is an evening news manager for KSL.com. A lifelong Utahn, Ashley has also worked as a reporter for the Deseret News and is a graduate of Dixie State University.


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