2 Hunter High football players killed, another injured in shooting; four suspects in custody

Jan 13, 2022, 11:14 AM | Updated: Jun 8, 2022, 1:47 pm

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah — West Valley City police say two underclassman football players at Hunter High School were killed, another was critically injured and four suspects are in custody after a shooting along 4100 South between the lanes of Mountain View Corridor.

The victims of Thursday’s shooting were identified as 15-year-old Paul Tahi and 14-year-old Tivani Lopati, both Hunter High School students and members of the school’s football team. The third victim, Ephraim Asiata, a 15-year-old Hunter High School student, was in critical but stable condition.

West Valley City Police Department spokeswoman Roxeanne Vainuku said all of the suspects are juveniles.

Police announced Thursday evening that one of the suspects, believed to be the shooter and responsible for the two deaths was in custody while the other suspects had been questioned and released.

A motive has not been found but it seems there was a dispute between two groups that escalated into an altercation that led to the shooting.

Vainuku said police received a call about the shooting around 10:52 a.m. Thursday. She said the shooting involved two groups of people who knew each other and had a dispute that escalated to a physical altercation before shots were fired.

The two groups involved students from Hunter High School and other schools, according to Vainuku.

Four suspects fled the scene on foot and were later taken into custody. Vainuku said police believe there is no imminent threat to the public.

Ben Horsely with the Granite School District said Hunter High, along with Hunter Jr. High School and Hillside and Whittier elementary schools were put into shelter-in-place protocols due to the shooting, which occurred off-property.

The protocol was lifted at every school by 1 p.m.

Horsley said grief counselors will be available at Hunter High Thursday afternoon and Friday.

The school also provided food for students who were not allowed to leave during the school’s second lunch period due to the lockdown.

Police closed both directions of Mountain View Corridor between 3500 South and 5400 South for several hours while investigators were on scene. Eastbound and westbound lanes on 4100 South were closed between 5600 West and 6000 West as well.

Drivers who use Mountain View Corridor or 4100 South in the area were urged to use an alternate route for Thursday’s evening commute.

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2 Hunter High football players killed, another injured in shooting; four suspects in custody