Sisters of West Valley shooting victim speak at vigil

Jan 15, 2022, 9:27 AM | Updated: Jun 8, 2022, 6:31 pm

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah — For the second night in a row, dozens gathered on a sidewalk in West Valley City Friday, where two boys were shot and killed and a third was sent to the hospital.

“It hurts a lot,” said Melelupe Tahi, whose brother was killed. “But we’re going to keep fighting. For him.”

On Thursday, police say Tahi’s only brother Paul, 15, and Tuvani Lopati, 14, and Ephraim Asiata, 15, were on the sidewalk on 4100 South at Mountain View Corridor, when they got into an altercation and were shot.

Paul and Tuvani were killed, and Ephraim went to the hospital. The remaining suspect in custody is 14 years old.

Hardly a moment has gone by since the crime scene cleared, when someone hasn’t been at the exact location where the shooting happened.

Balloons, posters, candles and flowers decorate the area. And there has been a continuous flow of people—family members, friends, classmates, teammates, coaches and strangers — coming to pay their respects.

“He’s my baby brother. So, it just kind of hit to find out the news,” said MaryJane Bloomfield, another one of Paul’s sisters.

Bloomfield flew in from Washington. Looking at the crowd at the memorial Friday, she said it was “humbling…to witness all of these lives Paul’s touched in such a short amount of time.”

Coaches say Paul and Tavani had bright futures ahead of them — on the field and in life.

Melelupe says Paul played quarterback at Hunter High School where she says he was a leader who, “everyone looked up to him on the field and out.”

“He was a good person. And it’s sad that he’s not here,” Melelupe said through tears.

“It’s hard. He’s just on my mind now forever. No one’s ever going to forget about him. He’s always going to be remembered and loved and missed.”

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Sisters of West Valley shooting victim speak at vigil