4 teens charged as adults in shooting death of 15-year-old West Valley boy
Mar 22, 2023, 12:21 PM | Updated: May 21, 2023, 4:26 pm
(Ray Boone/KSL TV)
WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah — Four teenagers have been charged as adults in connection with the shooting death of a 15-year-old boy found inside a crashed car in West Valley City earlier this month.
Bryan Alvarez, 16, Kimberly Alvarez, 17, Anthony Alexander Hernandez, 17, and Xavior Lunt, 16, were each charged as adults on Wednesday in 3rd District Court with murder, a first-degree felony. In addition, each was also charged with illegal discharge of a firearm, one first-degree felony and four second-degree felonies.
Just after midnight on March 3, the body of 15-year-old Francisco Jesus Cuena was found in a car that had crashed into a brick wall at 1378 W. Caesar Circle.
Several people called 911, including “one caller (who) reported approximately 15 shots fired,” and another who said it appeared two cars were involved, according to charging documents. Responding officers found “approximately 20 gunshot holes” in the car that Francisco’s body was in, the charges state. A total of 36 casings were found on the street.
Based on several residential surveillance cameras that were later viewed by police, it appeared that several suspects were waiting for Francisco to arrive and then immediately opened fire as soon as he got there, according to charging documents.
Detectives located Francisco’s phone and found messages on Instagram that indicated someone had reached out to him and made plans to meet him at Caesar Circle, the charges state.
“Another witness told police that Xavior said he knew (the victim) and said Xavior was the first to shoot,” the charges state. “The witness said Xavior showed them a video of a kid ‘all shot up’ and bleeding inside a car, and the witness recognized the car from the news,” according to charging documents.
The witness claimed that a woman had arranged the meeting with Francisco with the purpose of robbing him, the charges state.
Police used surveillance video to identify one of the suspect vehicles, and learned officers had recorded multiple incidents involving the vehicle and Bryan Alvarez and Xavior Lunt, according to the charges.
Detectives then spoke with a school resource officer at Taylorsville High School who was familiar with all four defendants and noted they were members of a street gang, the charges state.
On March 8, police stopped the vehicle identified from the shooting and found Anthony Hernandez and his parents inside.
“Anthony told his father that Bryan had been ‘beefing’ with (Francisco) and wanted to hurt him. Anthony said Bryan had Anthony and his other friends come up with a plan to lure (Francisco) to the area and rob him. Anthony told his father that when (Francisco) arrived and everyone got out of the vehicles, they started shooting,” the charges state.
This story will be updated.