LOCAL NEWS

Around A Dozen Individuals Involved In Fashion Place Mall Shooting

Jan 14, 2019, 7:20 PM | Updated: 9:59 pm

MURRAY, Utah – Two rival gang members were arrested in connection with the shooting at Fashion Place Mall that injured two people. The incident involved around a dozen individuals.

At a press conference Monday, officials with the Murray Police Department said the shooters and the victims in Sunday’s incident were all members of rival gangs that likely had a chance encounter at the mall.

Law enforcement from throughout the valley responded Sunday around 1:30 p.m. to what was initially called in as an active shooter outside Fashion Place Mall.

One female victim was transported to the hospital in serious condition and was later released. A male victim was also sent to the hospital, where he remained in critical condition Monday.

No innocent bystanders were hurt.

About a dozen people from rival gangs ran into each other in the mall not far from the east entrance. Police said they believed it was a chance encounter.

There was a verbal altercation inside the mall, then as one of the groups was leaving the building, a physical altercation started.

“An individual there turned and fired at the first group that had entered the mall, wounding two individuals from there,” said Officer Kenny Bass.

 

Officials said a person in the other group returned fire.

According to witnesses, that’s when people started racing for the doors trying to get out.

Law enforcement officers respond in the neighborhood east of Fashion Place Mall after a shooting at the mall in Murray on Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019. (Spenser Heaps, Deseret News)

Police said the two victims who were shot and injured were there with the gang members.

Shopper Matt Thomas ran out of the mall when he heard the gunshots. He said headed back to help when he realized there might be victims. That’s when he saw the two injured people on the ground.

At the time, he thought that they were innocent bystanders caught up in the gunfire.

“They were laying there, wounded, hurt,” said Thomas. “I think they were more shaken up and scared. I started talking to them and started holding their hands, telling them everything is going be okay.”

“Everybody involved in the shooting was a member of one or the other of the gangs,” said Bass. “No bystanders were struck.”

Police arrested a 19-year-old from each of the groups: Jesus Payan-Mendoza, and George C. Gonzales. Neither of the men were from Salt Lake County, possibly Summit or Wasatch County.

They have been booked into jail on potential charges of attempted criminal homicide and discharge of a firearm.

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Investigators were still interviewing members of both gangs who were there to find out who fired the first shot and whether there were other shooters were involved.

Officials expected additional arrests may follow.

Police have asked anyone with information about the incident to come forward.

They said an alarm that went off Sunday inside the mall was unrelated to the shooting and had been randomly going off days prior. They said the alarm’s occurrence after the shooting was coincidental.

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Around A Dozen Individuals Involved In Fashion Place Mall Shooting