Teen shootout caused stray bullets to light up neighboring apartment units

Sep 4, 2023, 11:12 PM | Updated: Sep 5, 2023, 7:02 am

NORTH SALT LAKE, Utah — Residents of a North Salt Lake apartment are still shaken up over a shootout that took place right outside their windows. North Salt Lake police made a few arrests and said they’re still searching for everyone involved.

On Monday afternoon, one of the residents stood near the same courtyard, recounting what she saw from her window just the day before.

The woman, who didn’t want to be identified, said she saw a group of about 19 or 20 teens fighting and pushing each other around 5:30 a.m. Sunday.

She saw one of the boys pull up his shirt, pull out a gun and start shooting.

“My first instinct, obviously, was to make sure that my son was safe, like in on there on the ground,” she said.

Matt Malovich lives in a building that faces the courtyard. He and his wife had been hearing the teens through the night but didn’t hear anything serious or loud. That is until dozens of gunshots rang out.

“Then all of a sudden we just hear a barrage of like ‘pow, pow, pow, pow, pow pow, pow… pow, pow, pow pow, pow, pow, pow,'” Malovich said.

North Salt Lake police believe a fight between groups led to the firing of at least 55 rounds across the courtyard. Bullets hit apartment building walls and windows from the first floor to the third on at least two buildings, as well as vehicles in two different parking lots.

According to a probable cause statement, the issue started at a party before the gunfire broke out.

Malovich’s wife got up to shut the window as all the shots rang out.

“Thank goodness that there wasn’t a stray bullet that came through our window while she was closing the window,” he said.

Bullets did go flying through two of Mitch Bruderer’s windows.

He described hearing a loud crash noise and glass shattering all over him and his bed as he slept. It jolted Bruderer awake.

“I got out of bed and peeked and saw a couple of people with handguns. And then I got down and a couple more, one more bullet came through the apartment,” he said.

The first bullet that pierced the window just a few feet above him, flew past his face into the wall. The second bullet went crashing through his living room window and was lodged into a kitchen cabinet.

Bruderer could have been hit, had the bullet’s path been just a few feet lower.

“Just scared. Trying to comprehend what was going on. Still trying to wake up and like, you know, get my wits about me,” he said. “But yeah, just a terrifying experience.”

He was glad to hear police made arrests, as were Malovich and the neighbor who witnessed the fight and shooting.

North Salt Lake police arrested two juveniles and 19-year-old Joe Damien Wade Hernandez for felony discharge of a firearm and reckless endangerment.

On Monday, police said they are still looking for others involved and may make more arrests.

Each person expressed how lucky it was that this courtyard gunfight didn’t kill anyone.

“To have kids be so careless and so reckless here, when there’s obviously so many families that live here, there’s children that live everywhere,” the neighbor said. “It’s super concerning.”

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Teen shootout caused stray bullets to light up neighboring apartment units