Ballpark residents call for change as search for shooting suspect continues

Oct 11, 2022, 10:43 PM | Updated: May 21, 2023, 4:31 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — As a search for a suspect who shot a man in the Ballpark neighborhood continues, residents who live just blocks away from where it happened are calling for a change.

Tuesday morning’s shooting at Wasatch Inn on State Street left a 38-year-old man in critical condition, according to Salt Lake City police.

While they made an arrest — 71-year-old Thomas Leroy Glasker for attempted murder and obstruction of justice — it wasn’t of the suspected gunman. They believe Glasker gave the suspect the gun in the shooting and tried to act as a getaway driver.

1 man arrested in SLC shooting, investigators continue search for gunman

The suspect, identified by police as 60-year-old Joseph Marquez, was still on the run Tuesday night.

Amy J. Hawkins said she was walking her dog at the same time of the shooting around 10 a.m. She lives two blocks from the Wasatch Inn.

She would learn that Marquez was believed to have run from the scene.

“We also still have a shooter on the loose, yeah. Yeah… that’s a little hard to hear,” she said.

It left Hawkins and neighbors like Arika Schockmel worried. Schockmel, who lives around the corner from Hawkins, said she worried the suspect could have hidden in one of the few abandoned houses in the area.

She often sees people coming and going from the empty homes.

“Having somebody be shot or killed or hurt within blocks of your family house doesn’t feel safe,” she said.

But they’re not surprised at what happened.

“There have been shootings and murders and stabbings in the neighborhood,” Schockmel said. “There’s a lot of prostitution, there’s a lot of drug dealing. So, there’s just a lot of smaller criminal acts of marginalized people that happen around here.”

One critically injured in Salt Lake City shooting; police searching for suspect

Schockmel, who has an 11-year-old daughter, said her daughter isn’t allowed to leave their street or play after dark. It has become the norm that her daughter doesn’t go play with kids who live around the corner because Schockmel doesn’t feel it is safe enough for her daughter to walk over there.

“We’ve had five violent deaths in the Ballpark Neighborhood so far this year,” Hawkins said. “And then in addition to that, we’ve had four shootings that didn’t result in death or fatalities, but they were still shootings where somebody had gotten critically injured.”

Hawkins serves as chair of the Ballpark Community Council and pays close attention to every incident in the area.

In the case of Tuesday’s shooting, Salt Lake City police said they believed it was an isolated incident.

Even so, Hawkins and Schockmel articulated that each isolated incident adds up.

“It doesn’t feel isolated on our end because we’ve had so many events like this that have happened recently,” Schockmel said.

She expressed the hope that something drastic could be done to help the crime problem. Hawkins echoed that sentiment.

Hawkins said information needs to be released to the community more quickly, saying that people didn’t know if the shooter was still at large after the shooting.

She also said there needs to be long-term solutions to the problematic motels in the neighborhood. Hawkins said the motels are not well-regulated with vulnerable populations often staying in those motels — who are then preyed upon by others.

“We’ve seen a shooting exactly where we would predict it to happen, at a low-budget motel in the Ballpark Neighborhood,” she said. “Wouldn’t it be great if we could use the predictive data that we’ve all accumulated together to prevent something like that from happening again?”

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Ballpark residents call for change as search for shooting suspect continues