3 hit by bullet fragments, including 3-year-old with cancer, while leaving West Valley grocery store

Apr 11, 2018, 11:28 PM | Updated: 11:42 pm

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah — Hugo Padilla had just purchased groceries at a Smith’s store Wednesday afternoon and was walking out with his family when they were hit by bullet fragments after a man shot himself in the leg in front of the store.

Rufino Cervantes, 36, was booked on charges of felony discharge with injury, aggravated assault & possession of firearm by a restricted person. West Valley City Police said Cevantes fired 1 shot which struck his own leg, the bullet then fragmented and hit other people— including a 3-year-old, in the store.

Hugo Padilla witnessed his wife, his 3-year-old daughter, and another woman be hit — each of them in the leg.

“They start crying, my wife and my daughter, when they felt the shots,” he said. “The other girl was crying also and grabbing her legs.”

Padilla said he doesn’t believe the man was targeting him or his family.

“No, it wasn’t for my family. We are not from here. We are coming from Vegas. We don’t know (anybody) that can hurt us here,” he said, adding that his family was in town for a follow-up appointment for his young daughter at Primary Children’s Hospital, where she has been treated since November for kidney cancer.

The family headed home from a hospital late Wednesday, and expressed relief their daughter, Esmeralda, suffered only minor injuries. Padilla said his daughter visit Primary Children’s Hospital every week for treatment and recently doctors declared her cancer-free. But employees were shocked to see her in the hospital for a different reason Wednesday.

“We are fighting with the cancer and everything and then this happens,” the father said. “It’s very hard.”

He said the family also survived another ordeal in the form of a bad car crash in December.

The incident began just before 2 p.m. Wednesday at the entrance of Smith’s, 4065 S. Redwood. Police initially said the man “walked up to the entrance of the store and proceeded to fire several rounds” inside.

Esmeralda, 3, her 32-year-old mother and another woman in her 20s were each hit in the leg.

After the shooting, the suspected gunman, Cevantes, ran off toward the street and some nearby apartments. Police set up a containment in the area. Residents of the Redwood Apartments, Shadowbrook Apartments and Somerset Apartments were all advised to shelter in place and call police if they spotted anything suspicious.

About three hours later, police arrested the Cevantes, at Shadowbrook Apartments, 3852 S. 1845 West. Cevantes left the apartment complex on a gurney and was taken to a hospital.

“(Officers) had multiple shields, their guns drawn pointing up at the second floor. They were definitely letting whoever was in there know that they’re coming up regardless if they want them there,” she said. “About maybe five minutes later, they did have someone come to the bottom of the stairs — only in handcuffs.”

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3 hit by bullet fragments, including 3-year-old with cancer, while leaving West Valley grocery store