A Tooele County Sheriff’s Deputy took his own life early Tuesday afternoon, and unknown factors in the situation prompted officials to send all three Stansbury Park schools into lockdown.
Tooele County Sheriff Frank Park said Deputy Steve Hansen, 37, killed himself early Tuesday afternoon. The father of six had worked for the department for four years, and was a detective with the Tooele City Police Department before that.
Preliminary indications suggest only one shot was fired, Park said. Because of the close proximity of Hansen’s home and schools, namely Stansbury Elementary School, and because of a number of unknown factors in the situation, officers advised the Tooele County School District to go on lockdown until the issue was resolved about an hour later.
In addition to Stansbury Elementary, Rose Springs Elementary and Stansbury High School went on lockdown because of the incident.
“We knew we had a person who was distraught and that he had a weapon and that shots had been fired, and so with those indicators there are some very specific things you want to do to put people out of harm’s way,” said Park.
Many parents expressed concern at their children being locked down, especially because the lockdown coincided with students being taken by school bus to afternoon kindergarten and had to be diverted to Overlake Elementary School.
Tooele County Superintendent Scott Rogers said while he understands parental concerns, and that there did not turn out to be a direct threat to students, the school district chose to err on the side of caution.
“There were parents upset that they couldn’t get their child out to go to a dentist appointment,” he said. “Our job is to make sure our students are safe.”
Park said Hansen been on light duty due to having surgery this fall but was scheduled to get clearance from a doctor this month and go back on regular duty. In any traumatic death, standard procedure dictates the situation be investigated, he added; however, because Hansen was a current employee of the Sheriff’s office, Tooele City Police would undertake the task.
“Because a traumatic incident occurred and somebody’s dead, there’s an investigation,” he said. “We would have handled it if it had been someone not in our agency, but because the individual was in our agency, we had an outside agency come in, so no one thinks anything was covered up or anything.”
Long after the investigation is completed, though, the impact of Hansen’s loss will live on, Park said, for both officers and family.
“It’s something the department will deal with for quite some time to come, as well,” he said. “We will, of course, do anything and all we can to help his family. Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to them, and we’ll be there to help them when we can. We and the county as a whole have got people that have called asking what they can do.”
He added, “We want to make sure they can have a Christmas. The community’s always supported us and law enforcement.”
An account has been created at Wells Fargo for Hansen’s family under the name “Steve Hansen Memorial Fund.”
As of press time, Hansen’s funeral was scheduled for Tuesday but more details were not known. When available, Hansen’s obituary will be posted on the Transcript website at www.tooeleonline.com/steve-hansen/