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Mother Remembers Son Who Was Shot, Killed At SLC Homeless Encampment

Ryan Prendergast, 21, was shot and killed early Monday morning at 900 West and 500 South.

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — The mother of a man who was shot and killed at a homeless encampment in Salt Lake City said her son was much more than a man who lived on the streets. She said he was a beloved son who was filled with love toward others.

Ryan Prendergast, 21, died early Monday morning at 900 West and 500 South. His mom said he turned 21 just one month earlier.

“I want my son to be remembered not just as some homeless person,” said an emotional Kelly Kowalewski. “He was such a beautiful soul. He was selfless. He lived through love.”

William Henry Clark, 33, was arrested in connection to the shooting after a 12-hour stand-off at the Oquirrh Hills Apartments in Magna.

Kowalewski said her son was friends with Clark’s ex-girlfriend.

“When my son came out to check on (the ex-girlfriend), he turned the gun on my son and shot my son, and within 20 minutes, my son was gone,” said Kowalewski. “I hope (Clark) rots in jail with no chance of parole, and that is even too good for him.”

According to the Salt Lake County Health Department, the homeless encampment where the shooting happened was on a priority list to get cleaned up.

Major cleanup operations happened on Wednesday at two other encampments in Salt Lake City — one of them was along 600 West and 50 South. Police completely shut down the road as huge dump trucks came in to haul away thousands of pounds of stuff.  The other was at 700 South and 200 East.

Health department officials said they loaded up about 70,000 pounds of stuff altogether.

“The health department, the city, the police, we don’t want to throw people’s stuff away, but also, piles of garbage and trash are just unacceptable,” said Dale Keller with the Salt Lake County Health Department.

Keller said it was a problem that only seems to be getting worse.

“It’s not getting better,” he said.

Keller said the county was doing everything it could to try and provide those living in these makeshift camps with resources.

“We always work with our partners in the cities to provide social service outreach. Yesterday there was a resource fair at this location, advising people of opportunities at shelters, providing rides, legal issues,” he said.

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