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Two Men Arrested With Multiple Firearms Before SLC Protest, Police Say

Christian Hernandez, 27, of Magna, and Yuri Neves Silva, 27, of West Valley City. (Salt Lake County Jail)

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah – Officials with the West Valley City Police Department and FBI agents said they arrested two men who had multiple firearms, “including an AK-47 and an Uzi with a silencer attached,” before they arrived at a protest in downtown Salt Lake City.

Police said one of the men, 27-year-old Yuri Silva, threatened police with violence on social media accounts.

“Mr. Silva had threatened the use of firearms, had encouraged others to take up arms against police as well, and had reportedly listed the names and addresses of specific officers to be targeted,” according to a news release.

Monday’s protest in downtown Salt Lake City was mostly peaceful, but police said things could have been worse if the two men were not arrested.

“We commend this excellent work by our investigative team and the FBI,” officials said in the release. “With the severity of the threats, accompanied by the firearms located, we have every reason to believe that these arrests potentially saved lives,” officials said.

According to court documents, Silva was arrested in a vehicle as he was leaving his residence in West Valley. “Inside the vehicle were four firearms and the suspect admitted, after being read his Miranda Rights, he was headed to the current Salt Lake City protests.”

“I believe the suspect was threatening to kill police officers,” the arresting officer said in a probable cause statement. “The suspect denied wanting to shoot police officers but admitted his Facebook posts were intended to incite people.”

Silva was charged with making a terroristic threat.

Police also detained the driver of the car, 27-year old Christian Hernandez. He was charged with possession of a firearm by a restricted person and drug possession.

Police had warrants to search the car and home and found four firearms and numerous rounds of ammunition in the car, according to court documents.

Police also found electronic evidence in the home.

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