Four teens looking for rival gang members charged in connection with triple killing at party
Feb 8, 2023, 8:38 PM
(Ravell Call/Deseret News)
WEST JORDAN, Utah — Four teen boys have been charged in connection with a gang-related shooting at a house party in West Jordan last year that left three people dead.
Steven Donovan Carmona, 17, was charged Wednesday in 3rd District Court with three counts of aggravated murder, a first-degree felony; discharging a firearm causing injury, a second-degree felony; and seven counts of discharge of a firearm, a third-degree felony.
Three others, ages 15, 15, and 16, are listed as co-defendants, with only their initials listed in court documents. Those boys are charged in juvenile court with the same crimes. But Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill says his office might also seek to have them certified to stand trial as adults.
“We are not foregoing exploring all the options to transfer the right individual into adult court, where appropriate, but there is a process we must follow,” he said.
Police say the four boys actively sought out their victims and targeted them for being rival gang members.
On July 23, West Jordan police were called to 3355 W. 6920 South where a large party was being held. Officers found the bodies of Fayzan Ali, 18, Ayash Mohamed, 18, and Mohamed Mohamed, 20, all from Millcreek. Ali was found shot in the driveway, Mohamed Mohamed was shot twice and found in the front yard, and Ayash Mohamed was found shot east of the driveway, according to charging documents.
Detectives learned that the three victims were gang members and that members of a rival gang “had been actively seeking retaliation against members” of the victims’ gang, the charges state.
They were shot by people who drove by in a white Cadillac, according to the charges.
“Video surveillance further showed that another male at the party … ran over to where Fayzan had been shot, picked up a firearm and shot at the Cadillac as it sped away from the crime scene,” the charges state. “Witnesses reported additional party goers returned gun fire towards the Cadillac as it fled the scene.”
Investigators quickly developed information about a 15-year-old boy who was at the party, who is a documented gang member and friends with Carmona, also a gang member and who was known to drive a white Cadillac, according to the charges. Police say both boys are “suspects in multiple violent incidents including multiple aggravated robberies involving a firearm, multiple shootings, and aggravated assaults where pistols were used to assault the victims.”
Both boys are also members of a rival gang of the victims.
A few hours after the shooting, police went to Carmona’s home and found a white Cadillac and observed a bullet hole near his apartment, according to the charges. Carmona, who was 16 at the time, told police “that what the detectives needed was in a backpack,” the charges state. A gun was located in the backpack and Carmona was arrested and booked into juvenile detention for investigation of aggravated robbery.
Detectives continued to collect evidence in the case and served several search warrants on multiple social media accounts and cellphones. They learned that Carmona and his three co-defendants had been “pursuing” members of the rival gang “to commit acts of violence against them,” the charges state. Police also learned that on the night of shooting, the 15-year-old who was seen at the party — one of the teens currently charged — was communicating with Carmona and giving him information, according to the charges.
“Video footage from the residence hosting the party showed (the four defendants) meet up at the residence where the party was being held and then enter the residence together. Approximately 1-minute, 15 seconds later, all four co-defendants can be seen exiting the residence together. Shortly after the co-defendants exit, Mohamed, Fayzan and Ayash exit the residence. Video footage seized from a neighboring residence shows Mohamed, Fayzan and Ayash standing on the sidewalk near the street when a white Cadillac slowly pulls up in front of the three young men, at which time the three were shot by the occupants in the white Cadillac,” the charges state.
Police say the boys in the Cadillac used two guns. Forensics testing confirmed the gun recovered from Carmona’s backpack was one of the weapons used, the charges state.
Then, on Jan. 11, the 15-year-old boy and 16-year-old boy were arrested by Unified police for investigation of spray painting graffiti. A handgun was found in one of the boy’s waistband. Detectives talked to one of the teen’s relatives who stated the gun “was ‘linked’ to the triple homicide,” according to the charges, and that the relative told them “dirty guns are trouble” and to “take care of it.”
Court documents state the second gun recovered is also linked to a shooting being investigated by Unified police in which two of the boys charged in connection with the triple homicide are also suspects.