Neighbors say elderly man was innocent bystander in deadly WVC shooting
WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah — Police continue their search for the shooter in a suspected drive-by shooting in West Valley City. This as neighbors process the death of one of their own — an elderly man who police suspect was an innocent bystander.
Neighbors told KSL-TV that 82-year-old Farrell Bartschi was just out for his morning walk when the shots were fired.
Now, West Valley City police are hoping a reward of up to $2,000, offered by the U.S. Marshals Service, can get them some answers.
LaRoy Page said his neighborhood, located near 3800 South and Sunnyvale Drive, is great for families; it’s right next to a school — Farnsworth Elementary.
However, things have changed, and it’s not just the weather.
Across the street from Page’s house, a man lost his life.
“This is just a neighbor. He was literally out walking and people walk here all day every day,” said Page.
"He was just out walking" Neighbors say elderly man out for his morning walk was innocent bystander in deadly shooting. @WVCPD say Noel Munoz Lopez, convicted felon out on parole, is POI. US Marshalls offering up to $2K reward. Tip Line: 801-965-5200. Story at 10:30 on @KSL5TV pic.twitter.com/ZkMgNuvx5K
— Garna Mejia KSL (@GarnaMejiaKSL) October 11, 2021
It was early in the morning on Oct. 4 when Page said he heard gunshots.
“It sounded to me like four, because it sounded like sort of a ‘pop, pop-pop, and a pop,’ [but] I’ve heard there were only two,” he said.
Startled, he looked in the direction of the gunshots.
“I turned around and looked out the window and I saw basically a white car speed down the road, eastbound,” said Page.
Page said the car looked strangely familiar.
The previous day, he saw a white car and a dark gray SUV pull up to the house at 4222 West and 3800 South.
“I just heard them hollering at that point, ‘We know you’re in there! Come out! We want to talk to you!’ and just pounded on the door. I don’t know if they went inside. I know the car sat there about half an hour and then left,” said Page.
Page said he saw someone wounded on the ground. However, it wasn’t until later that he realized the victim was 82-year-old Farrell Bartschi, who lives just a few blocks away.
“My son goes, ‘I’ve seen that guy. He walks every morning, I see him up walking this direction almost every morning.’ And then, we saw a picture, and he goes, ‘Yeah, it’s the same guy.’ We had no idea it was an innocent bystander,” said Page.
On Tuesday, police identified 34-year-old Noel Munoz Lopez as a person of interest in the shooting.
U.S. Marshals also announced up to a $2,000 cash reward for his arrest.
They said Lopez, who was convicted in 2007 of attempted murder, violated his parole, but they did not specify the violation.
“It bothers me that he’s out on parole for shooting someone else. We don’t need him on the street. I don’t want him in my neighborhood, I don’t want him in anyone’s neighborhood,” said Page.
West Valley City police said Lopez has an association with the residents of the home in front of where Bartschi was shot.
Anyone with information has been asked to call the West Valley City Police Department tip line at 801-965-5200.
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