Valley Fair Mall employees recall moments leading up to shooting

May 9, 2023, 5:30 PM | Updated: May 21, 2023, 4:24 pm

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah — Store employees and customers hid in fear as they heard gunfire at Valley Fair Mall Monday afternoon.

“Everyone heard this loud thump. In the beginning, it didn’t sound like a gunshot or anything. It kind of sounded like if a bunch of books had feel from high up onto the floor,” recalled Damaris Uribe, a mall employee.

Uribe had just gotten off work when she said she heard the first gunshot and a second one.

“When I turned back to look, that’s when I saw him raise up his hand, and he shot again at the guy,” she said.

West Valley City police investigators said there was an exchange of words between the three juvenile suspects and the victim. Police said the two parties do not know each other.

“It was “‘bam bam,'” and then I see two shadowy figures went across, in front of my store. I assume that’s the kids that did it. They seemed very, very young,” said Dong Tan, an owner of a mall store.

“And the guy was on the floor. And everyone started screaming, “‘he has a gun!'” Uribe added.

Uribe said she darted into a nearby barbershop. Tan closed his store right away.

“My customers just dashed to the back. They already know what’s up,” Tan said. “So much is happening around us, and they already know. Their instinct is to dash toward the back.”

Tan and Uribe said they saw the man who was shot while bystanders rushed to help him. They both stayed in place until officers told them they had captured the suspects.

“There were people there helping him and holding pressure on where he had gotten shot,” Uribe said.

Police said the three suspects went to a Utah Transit Authority Trax platform, where police placed them in custody just twenty minutes after the shooting.

Uribe said this whole experience had rattled her since she considered the mall a second home.

“It’s just scary, you know?” In an environment you call your second home,” she expressed. “Keep in mind, that’s going to follow you for the rest of your life, forever.”

Police have not released the identity of the victim or the suspect.

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Valley Fair Mall employees recall moments leading up to shooting