Photo by Matt Stensland
Steamboat Springs police prepare to enter the house Friday morning at 2739 Iris Lane in west Steamboat.
Police Capt. Joel Rae said Saturday that a phone call from Rhonda Cash’s co-worker “very likely” saved her life.
Updated June 12, 2010 at 11:51 p.m.
Steamboat Springs Steamboat police Capt. Joel Rae praised the woman who called police Friday when Rhonda Cash did not arrive at work. She “very likely” saved Rhonda Cash’s life, he said.
Joan Ganz made the phone call to the Steamboat Springs Police Department from Rabbit Ears Dental Office at 9:34 a.m. Friday, Rae said. That led police to the Cash home on Iris Lane in western Steamboat where Rhonda Cash had been shot. Police said her husband, Robert Cash, shot her and later shot himself.
Both remained hospitalized in Denver on Saturday.
“Had (Ganz) not called, I have no idea how bad things would have got or if she would have succumbed to her injury,” Rae said Saturday afternoon. “She could be laying there to this point today. (We’re) very appreciative of the fact that someone had the feeling something wasn’t right and had the initiative to call us.”
Police said Friday that it appeared that Robert Cash, 55, shot Rhonda Cash, 48, in the back of the neck with a .38-caliber handgun at about 6:30 a.m. The two were going through a divorce.
Police arrived at the house at 9:37 a.m. Police Chief JD Hays said Friday that when officers arrived, they knocked on the door, yelled Rhonda Cash’s name and then heard a gunshot. That shot apparently was when Robert Cash shot himself in the chest, police said.
Police waited for the emergency response team to assemble before entering the house.
During that time, police and dispatchers repeatedly tried to call Rhonda Cash’s cell phone. At about 10:25 a.m., she answered her phone and Detective Nick Bosick talked with her, Rae said Friday.
At about 11 a.m., eight officers entered the house through the front door and used a flash-bang grenade. No shots were fired. Officers found Rhonda Cash in the bathroom and Robert Cash in a bedroom.
Both were taken to Yampa Valley Medical Center. Rhonda Cash was flown to St. Anthony Central Hospital in Denver later that afternoon. Robert Cash was flown to the same hospital at about 10:30 p.m. Friday, Rae said.
Rhonda Cash was listed in serious condition, and Robert Cash was listed in critical condition Saturday evening at St. Anthony. Police said Friday that a bullet had been lodged in Rhonda Cash’s spine. Rae said Saturday that Robert Cash was in the neurosurgical intensive care unit.
The Ganz family requested privacy and did not want to comment about the incident. Dr. Neil Ganz, a dentist at Rabbit Ears Dental, confirmed that his wife, Joan, called the police because Rhonda Cash had not arrived and she was concerned about her well-being.
Rae said he did not know the details of why Joan Ganz called police.
“I do know the main part of it was it’s because Rhonda did not show up for work, which was very unusual behavior for her,” Rae said. “She had always called in and was just a very good employee, so they thought something must be wrong because she didn’t show up for work and didn’t call in.”
Police are investigating whether Robert Cash legally owns the handgun used in the shootings. Rae said there was no reason, such as a previous conviction of a felony or a domestic violence charge, that Robert Cash would not have been legally allowed to own a gun.
Rae did not yet know what charges might be filed in the incident.
Robert Cash “will be taken into custody, and the district attorney will file the appropriate charges when he’s medically cleared to deal with that,” Rae said.
Robert Cash worked as a bagger and checker for more than 10 years at City Market and had stopped working at the store several months ago, Assistant Manager Jason Dorr said Friday.