Lehi police arrest man after shot fired through neighbor’s wall
LEHI, Utah — A gunshot fired through the wall of a townhome Wednesday led officers to arrest the neighbor, following the discovery of greater destruction inside that man’s home next door.
Noel Mendez said he and his family awakened Wednesday morning to find a hole in his wall near the front door.
“I was in total denial,” Mendez told KSL TV. “I mean, you don’t expect your neighbor is shooting, right?”
When Mendez couldn’t get an answer at his next-door neighbor’s home near Old Ranch Road and Barley Bend, he called the police.
According to a probable cause statement, Lehi police officers found a fired bullet in Mendez’s home below the hole in the wall and contacted the neighbor, subsequently identified as 32-year-old Jacob Waits.
Police say a shot fired through a wall led to several disturbing discoveries next door. What the homeowner who found this has to say about it all…ONLY @KSL5TV at 10p #KSLTV #Utah pic.twitter.com/6FT6kT5OCd
— Andrew Adams (@AndrewAdamsKSL) November 17, 2022
Police said Waits had dried blood on his face and officers spotted a pool of dried blood inside the entry of the townhouse.
Jail booking documents stated that Waits agreed to a search of his home, in which officers said they found a bullet hole in the garage that matched the trajectory of the hole reported by Mendez.
Subsequently, officers stated they identified three additional bullet holes in the ceiling of the garage and another at the base of the stairs headed down to the basement. Officers said they also found two bullet holes in the ceiling of the staircase as well as spent casings on the stairs, upstairs and in the basement.
“The living room and kitchen of the home (were) completely destroyed,” officers wrote in the jail booking statement. “The kitchen table was missing its legs, pictures that (were) on the wall were (now) bent and on the floor, wooden chairs (were) broken, there (were) holes in doors and drywall, couches (were) flipped over and upside down.”
Police also said they found an opened, half-empty bottle of Hennessy on the stairs.
According to police, Waits stated post-Miranda in an interview that he had consumed two to three shots from the Hennessy bottle and that he “did not remember anything from last night.”
“(He) thinks someone had broken into his house and it was not him that damaged his home or fired the firearm,” officers wrote in the probable cause statement.
Officers said they found no signs of forced entry into the house.
“All signs and evidence (suggest) that Jacob blacked out and could not (remember) what had happened,” officers wrote. “I spoke with Jacob’s ex-wife to get his past history and she stated that he has had some episodes in the past however nothing had been to this extent. The past has just been holes in the drywall.”
Waits was arrested and booked into the Utah County Jail on suspicion of felony discharge of a firearm and misdemeanor carrying a dangerous weapon under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
He was being held without bail as of late Wednesday night.
Mendez said he had heard numerous strange noises coming from his neighbor’s home over the last several months, usually late at night.
He said he was very concerned and feared what might happen if there were a next time.
“We could just be sitting on the couch and that would be a tragedy,” said Mendez as he pondered if circumstances had been different Wednesday morning. “I think we were all lucky — including himself — that nothing else happened.”
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