2 charged in ‘Western-style shootout,’ including man once arrested for shooting young girl
Nov 20, 2022, 10:40 AM | Updated: May 21, 2023, 4:30 pm
WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah — Two men who were injured in what prosecutors described as a “Western-style shootout” with each other outside a crowded apartment complex will soon be co-defendants in court.
Timothy Roy Begay Jr., 18, of West Valley City, and Enrique Soto-Bernabe, 27, of West Jordan, were each charged Thursday in 3rd District Court with discharging a firearm causing injury, a first-degree felony. The men were “part of a coordinated fight that escalated to a Western-style shootout in the parking lot of an apartment complex,” according to charging documents.
Arrest warrants were issued for each alleged gunman with prosecutors requesting they not be allowed to post bail after they are booked into jail.
For Begay, a documented gang member, his charge comes less than a year after he was arrested in the 2020 shooting of a 6-year-old girl, and three years after a shooting involving gang members during a high school football game.
On April 16, West Valley police were called to the Shawdowbrook Apartments near 1600 West and 3900 South on a report of a shooting. Multiple people called 911 to report shots were fired, but no victims were found when officers arrived.
Soon after, however, police were notified that a man with gunshot wounds had shown up at Intermountain Medical Center. Officers went to the hospital and learned that Soto-Bernabe had been shot four times.
Another man who drove with Soto-Bernabe to the hospital told detectives there had been an argument the night before with another group about his cellphone being taken. Both sides either brandished or claimed to have guns, according to a search warrant affidavit. But Soto-Bernable talked his friend into leaving before anything happened.
The next day, however, the friend started getting messages on social media from the man who allegedly took his phone. The men started arguing again and then agreed “to meet up and have a mutual fight without guns,” according to the affidavit.
When Soto-Bernabe and his friend showed up at the Shadowbrook Apartments for the pre-arranged fight, they noted “there were a lot more people in the parking lot than he thought would be there,” the affidavit states. Because of that, Soto-Bernabe allegedly grabbed a gun from their car and took it with him.
At some point, as the two men were fistfighting, multiple gunshots were heard. The men continued fighting for a few more seconds, then fled the area along with everyone else who was there, the warrant states. The friend found Soto-Bernabe as he was driving away and jumped in his car with him. It was then he discovered that Soto Bernabe had been shot.
After police were made aware of Soto-Bernabe, they were notified that a second gunshot victim had shown up at Jordan Valley Hospital. That victim, Begay, was shot twice, charging documents state.
6-year-old nearly killed in 2020
The shootout at the apartment complex comes less than a year after Begay was arrested in connection with another shooting in which a stray bullet grazed a 6-year-old girl who was sleeping in her bed.
Just after midnight on Aug. 21, 2020, Unified police were called to a home near 5300 West and 5400 South on a report of a 6-year-old who had been shot in the foot.
Near the house where the girl was sleeping, two groups got into an argument that resulted in Begay firing multiple shots, according to charging documents. Two of those shots hit other cars parked nearby. A third shot went into a nearby house, through the child’s headboard, her pillow, and traveled the length of her body until it grazed her foot, Unified police said. Amazingly, she suffered only a bruise, but police say the girl was only inches away from being shot in the head.
Begay wasn’t arrested until July of 2021 and was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail at that time because he was 18. But because he was 17 when the shooting occurred, he was charged in juvenile court. According to juvenile court documents obtained by KSL.com, Begay was charged in January with possession of a gun by a restricted person, receiving a stolen gun, and discharge of a gun causing injury, second-degree felonies; plus two counts of shooting a gun, a third-degree felony. He was convicted of discharging a firearm causing injury and being a restricted person in possession of a gun in March and ordered to remain in state juvenile custody. He will turn 19 later this month.
Detectives began looking at Begay in connection with the shooting of the young girl after he was arrested by Sandy police about a month later during a separate investigation. When officers questioned him in September 2020 and searched the backpack he was carrying, they found a stolen handgun, marijuana and drug paraphernalia, according to juvenile court charging documents. The gun was tested and later determined to be the same one used in the Kearns shooting. The owner of the gun didn’t report his weapon as stolen until Sept. 17, 2020, apparently not realizing it was missing.
2019 Granger High shooting
Prior to that, Begay was one of eight teens arrested in connection with a gang-related shooting near a football game being played at Granger High School in 2019. He was convicted in juvenile court of being a minor in possession of a weapon, participating in a riot that resulted in injury and trespassing on school property, according to juvenile court records.
In October, Begay was charged with two counts of aggravated assault, a third-degree felony, for allegedly pointing a gun at two people in West Valley City. The next court hearing in that case is scheduled for May 27.