Family gathers to remember young man killed in early morning shooting
Oct 25, 2021, 12:16 AM | Updated: 12:20 am
SALT LAKE CITY — Friends and family gathered for a vigil in honor of Isaiah Valerio, who was identified by police as the victim in an overnight shooting in downtown Salt Lake City.
Valerio’s family members said Sunday night that blue balloons were a perfect fit for the fun-loving big brother.
“He was a happy person,” said family friend Dulce Hernandez. “He was always there for you. He would always call [and] check up on everybody.”
But instead of celebrating, Valerio’s family is mourning.
According to family members, the 21-year-old was at a Halloween party near 500 West and 600 South when a fight broke out.
He stepped in to help.
“He was trying to separate the fight and stop the fight, but he’s the one that ended up getting shot,” said Hernandez. “[He was] trying to break up a fight that wasn’t even his fight, trying to be a good person.”
In a press release, officials with the Salt Lake City Police Department said 9-1-1 dispatch received information about the shooting around 1:23 a.m.
#EXCLUSIVE: "Isaiah didn't deserve it… and that kid he knew what he was doing…" Isaiah Valerio's family speaks out following shooting early this morning in downtown. Coming up at 10, how family members say a Halloween party turned deadly. @KSL5TV pic.twitter.com/XBoS4bZaTH
— Garna Mejia KSL (@GarnaMejiaKSL) October 25, 2021
Through witness information, police said they identified 20-year-old Roy Anthony Duran as the suspect.
They believe he fled the scene before officers arrived.
He was described as having tattoos on his neck below his right ear and on his right arm.
“That kid, he knew what he was doing, and now, he has to pay for the consequences,” said Hernandez.
Hernandez believes Valerio and Duran were strangers to each other.
“No, I don’t think he [knew Duran]. I mean, it was a party, a Halloween party, so it was random people there,” she said.
As for Valerio, his family prays that justice will give them peace.
“It wasn’t his fault. Isaiah didn’t deserve it,” said Hernandez.
A GoFundMe* account has been set up to help cover funeral expenses.
Police have asked for anyone with information on Duran’s whereabouts to call 9-1-1 immediately.
The 20-year-old is considered to be armed and dangerous.
*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.