LOCAL NEWS

One Juvenile Dead, One In Custody After ‘Tragic’ West Jordan Incident

Jul 17, 2021, 10:28 AM | Updated: Jul 18, 2021, 11:52 pm

WEST JORDAN, Utah — West Jordan Police said they were investigating what they called a “tragic incident” that left a 13-year-old dead.

The incident occurred between two male juveniles in the parking lot of a Latter-day Saint Church, located near 5200 West and Cyclamen Way, around 1:45 a.m. Saturday.

Lt. Richard Bell with the West Jordan Police Department said officers responded after they received a report of a male who had been shot.

“We’ve got a 13 and a 15-year-old. They’re inside a vehicle. Did not know the gun was loaded. The juvenile’s been shot in the head,” dispatch could be heard saying to officers in a 911 call recording obtained from Broadcastify.

When officers arrived, they found a 13-year-old male inside the car with a gunshot wound. Bell said he was declared dead on scene by medical personnel.

“As we began investigating and digging into the case and determining what had happened, really what we found is it was just a truly unfortunate, tragic accident,” said Bell.

Bell said the two friends agreed to sneak out and meet up. He said one of them brought a firearm and they were manipulating it and not being safe with it, which ended with the 15-year-old shooting and killing his 13-year-old friend.

“During the course of the investigation, it is not our belief that [the 15-year-old] intended to kill his friend, however, we did determine that there was some criminal culpability and he was booked into the Juvenile Detention Center on manslaughter charges,” said Bell.

Bell said the 15-year-old was the one who called 911 and self-reported what had happened.

“He was distraught. He wanted to help his friend and he took the steps that he could to best help him after that occurred,” said Bell.

Police emphasized the importance of gun safety, especially with children in the home.

“I think a good takeaway from this, to gun owners, is make sure your firearms are secured, that your firearms and ammunition are stored away from each other and (that you) follow basic gun safety tips,” said Bell.

Bell said police will not be releasing the names of the suspect or victim in this case, or explaining how the gun was obtained, out of respect for the families involved.

“What this was early this morning was just a series of, frankly, poor decisions made by some adolescents that two families are going to now have to live with for the rest of their lives,” said Bell.

Derek Thatcher, the father of 13-year-old Lance Moorehead, sent a statement to KSL-TV Sunday evening, stressing the importance of gun safety after his son was killed.

“My son who just turned 13 in March loved to skate, play football, and video games. He had a contagious smile that could warm anyone’s heart. You couldn’t help but to smile back. He is loved deeply by his parents, many siblings, grandparents, Aunts and uncles. He will be missed immensely. Gun safety is of the utmost importance to prevent this kind of tragedy and heartache our family has experienced. We can’t stress enough how important gun safety is.”

A *GoFundMe account has been created to help cover funeral costs.

*KSL-TV does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account, you should consult your own advisors and otherwise proceed at your own risk.

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One Juvenile Dead, One In Custody After ‘Tragic’ West Jordan Incident