Teen found dead in crashed car with multiple gunshot wounds

Mar 3, 2023, 5:39 AM | Updated: 6:14 pm

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah — Police are investigating an overnight shooting that left a 15-year-old boy dead.

Sgt. Geyerman with the West Valley City Police Department said officers were dispatched to the area of 1325 W. Caesar Circle around 12:05 a.m. Friday after receiving reports of shots being fired.

When police arrived, they found the teen with multiple gunshot wounds inside a car that crashed into a brick wall.

Geyerman said the victim was taken to an area hospital where he was pronounced dead.

“Right now, our detectives and forensics are processing the scene and talking to witnesses and gathering what evidence they can,” Geyerman said.

A neighbor told KSL they heard what sounded like seven to eight gunshots.

“Woke up this morning. See all the Ring notifications saying there was motion,” said Alex Gvozdikov.

The motion was from flashing lights, police, detectives and first responders moving up and down the street.

“I went on the neighborhood Ring app and they were saying there were gunshots,” Gvozdikov said.

“Numerous. There’s a lot of casings,” said Lt. Justin Wyckoff with the West Valley City Police Department.

West Valley City police canvassed the neighborhood to piece together what happened.

“Preliminary would say we don’t believe they belong in this neighborhood,” Wyckoff said. “We have some cars that pulled into this neighborhood, and then some cars that left immediately after. Doesn’t mean they live here or not, we don’t know.”

From here, he said the crashed car will go into forensic processing.

As police continue to investigate, officers said the public, especially those who live nearby, can help.

“I know leading out of this neighborhood onto 1300 West and 41, we know our cars kind of traveled in that direction, and a lot of businesses were closed, homes didn’t answer, so if those people are in this area, we’d appreciate a phone call,” Wyckoff said.

Family members identified the victim Friday afternoon as 15-year-old Francisco Jesus Cuenca.

Francisco’s mother, Yessica Bernal, arrived at the crime scene Friday and spoke briefly with KSL.

“My son was my everything,” she said through tears. “He was a boy who would message me every night and every morning, told me good night mom and good morning. He was an amazing kid. He was not perfect, but he was working.”

She explained that the family got the car for Francisco, adding that it was under his dad’s name.

“Nobody has to take his life away like that.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: Police originally said the victim in this case was a man, but family members later confirmed he was 15 years old.

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Teen found dead in crashed car with multiple gunshot wounds