‘He’s a miracle’: Family updates condition of surviving teen shot near Hunter High School 

Jan 23, 2022, 12:44 PM | Updated: 7:23 pm

SALT LAKE CITY – A family spokesman updated the public on 15-year-old Ephraim Asiata, who was one of three teens shot near Hunter High School on Jan. 13. Ephraim survived, but 14-year-old Tivani Lopati and 15-year-old Paul Tahi were killed. 

A spokesman for the Asiata family said Sunday that Ephraim was doing well.  

“He’s out of the ICU as of a couple days ago,” said Muka Atiga. “He’s got a long road ahead of him, but we’re hopeful and we’re appreciative of the continuing support that I know we’ll continue to get.” 

Atiga said Ephraim has been out of bed.

“They were able to move him out to a wheelchair. So, he was able to kind of take a little tour of the hospital a little bit.” 

The family has not left Ephraim’s side since the shooting and they are pleased with his progress.  

“He’s just, he’s a miracle,” Atiga said. “Anything outside of the bed it’s, it’s a miracle.” 

Family, friends grieve after two teens killed near Hunter High School

The teens were shot on the sidewalk on 4100 South at Mountain View Corridor after an altercation earlier this month.

A 14-year-old suspect is in custody. 

Police have not released his name, but state prosecutors said they want to try him as an adult. 

Ephraim’s family said the outpouring of love and support from the community has helped them get through the ordeal. 

“Thank you to everyone who supported us,” Atiga said. “We’ve had so many people come to the hospital in support of Ephraim and dropping off food, warmers. So, we just wanted to express our gratitude for all that support.” 

He said the family was especially thankful for the response from West Valley City. 

“We come from the West Valley City community. I’m biased, but there’s no community in the world that’s more supportive for their people than the West Valley City community.” 

People have shown up outside of Intermountain Medical Center, where Ephraim is recovering, since the day of the shooting. 

“We see that every single day the evidence shows and in the way that people show up,” Atiga said. “Today, they’re planning on showing up. I’m sure we’ll have 100 cars out there, just to have them at the window to see them.” 

People have been in the parking lot day and night since the shootings, staying in their cars to keep warm. 

The three teenagers played football at Hunter High School. Members from the team have also stood vigil outside of the hospital.  

“Drive over there right now (to the hospital),” Atiga said. “They’re sitting there right now, they haven’t left. They’re constantly funneling in and out. I think Granite (School District) put them on distance learning. They’ve been learning from the parking lot.” 

Paul Tahi, 15, was killed in a shooting near Hunter High School January 13. (TikTok) Tivani Lopati, 14, was killed in a shooting near Hunter High School January 13. (TikTok)

He said Ephraim and his family are also thinking about his teammates who died, Tivani Lopati and Paul Tahi. 

“Just want to make sure the Lopati family and the Tahi family know that we love them so very much and we offer our support. Knowing Ephraim, I know as he progresses in his recovery, he’s going to live life for those two as well and honor those two.” 

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‘He’s a miracle’: Family updates condition of surviving teen shot near Hunter High School