Investigators Searching For Motive and Gunman in I-84 Shooting
May 23, 2019, 6:43 PM
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Investigators from Utah and Idaho are trying to find a man who they say shot and killed another driver along Interstate 84 Wednesday evening.
The incident happened around 8:00 p.m. Wednesday.
Lieutenant Ryan Van Fleet of the Utah State Bureau of Investigation said a semi was passing another semi, creating a slowdown near mile marker 21 near Snowville. Dennis Gwyther was driving a Land Rover through the area.
Van Fleet said as Gwyther’s SUV and a Volkswagen Jetta moved passed the slowdown, someone in the Jetta fired shots into Gwyther’s SUV. Gwyther was killed and the passenger was hit in the arm. The passenger called 911 and gave law enforcement a description of the suspect vehicle.
Utah Highway Patrol issued an alert to surrounding agencies to keep an eye out for a silver Jetta with unique antennas on the roof. Idaho State Police saw a vehicle matching that description along Interstate 86 near Burley and pursued it. Around 10:00 PM, Van Fleet said the Jetta crashed along the interstate, but they said the driver ran away before officers could approach the vehicle.
Van Fleet said the area is rural, surrounded by fields and canals. Officers from the ISP, Cassia County Sheriff’s Office, UHP and the Utah Department of Public Safety helicopter searched the area Thursday. Van Fleet said there had been a couple of sightings, but that the man had not yet been captured.
Late Thursday afternoon, the Box Elder County Attorney’s Office filed charges of criminal homicide, aggravated murder and attempted criminal homicide, aggravated murder against Jonathan Mendoza Llana. Van Fleet said Llana is the registered owner of the Jetta. Investigators have said they do not know what prompted the shooting.
“We have interviewed the passenger and there is nothing that he’s told us that leads us to believe there was any interaction prior to this shooting, so we’re still investigating that, trying to determine whether there might have been something that either he wasn’t aware of or that we can find out down the road,” Van Fleet said.
Gwyther’s husband posted a statement to Facebook late Thursday afternoon. Matt Gwyther wrote:
“Dennis Rowley Gwyther was a loved husband, father and brother.
He loved his family. His family was the most important thing in his life. He married Matthew Gwyther, the love of his life, the day gay marriage was legalized in Utah 12/10/13. He enjoyed being the bonus dad to his two teenage kids.
Loved to have fun and laugh. A kid inside an adult body.
Always kidding around and playing jokes.
Loved gadgets. A literal genius when it comes to technology. He could create anything especially if it involves wiring. He did sound and lighting for many clubs in Salt Lake.
He was an entrepreneur and always looked for new opportunities.
He was a strong advocate for LGBTQ rights and used his connections to help wherever he could.
His life was tragically taken while commuting to his job as a flight attendant based out of Boise. We are still in shock and have not processed much as the suspect is still at large and investigation is pending. We want him caught and swift justice,”