Arrest made in 2020 Millcreek killing after lengthy investigation
Nov 1, 2023, 12:17 PM
MILLCREEK — After more than three years of investigating, Unified police believe they have now solved the fatal shooting of a man outside a Millcreek car wash.
Awad Moses Majok, 22, was arrested Tuesday and booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of murder, aggravated robbery and illegal discharge of a gun.
Two other people also believed to be present during the killing are already charged with murder in another case in Salt Lake City from a year ago. As of Wednesday morning, neither Nogolweit “Nunu” Kug, 18, nor Deng Mawut Buk, 22, had not been charged in connection with the Millcreek incident. But police say arrest warrants for both men — who are already being held in the Salt Lake County Jail for their murder charge in the Salt Lake City case — could be filed by the afternoon.
Police say all three men have lengthy criminal histories and can be linked to the same gang, which has been involved in multiple shootings throughout Salt Lake County.
Investigators were finally able to put their case together thanks to DNA evidence combined with “incredible police work” from the lead detective, said Unified Police Sgt. Melody Cutler.
Manuel Felipe Gonzalez-Cortez, 21, of Colombia, was shot Oct. 18, 2020, about 12:30 a.m. in front of a car wash near 635 W. 3900 South. Gonzalez-Cortez was staying with his girlfriend nearby when he left to walk to a nearby convenience store. Police do not believe Gonzalez-Cortez had ever met his alleged attackers prior to that evening.
Officers responding to the shooting collected surveillance video from a nearby business.
“The video showed Manuel walking westbound down the sidewalk with two males, later identified as Nogolweit “Nunu” Kug and Awad Moses Majok, following Manuel down the sidewalk. The video then appears to show a struggle between Manuel, Kug and Majok. During that struggle, two muzzle flashes can be seen in the video,” according to a police booking affidavit.
On Oct. 29, 2020 — just 11 days after Gonzalez-Cortez was killed — Anei Joker, 20, was involved in a shooting near 2500 S. Parkcrest Drive. In that case, a parked, unoccupied car was shot multiple times in West Valley City and 12 shell casings were recovered by police. Joker was charged in that case and later convicted of a reduced charge of attempted illegal discharge of a firearm.
On Nov. 1, 2020, Majok was stopped by Salt Lake police in a stolen vehicle with four other people. One of those passengers was Buk Mawut Buk, 22, according to court records, who is currently charged with murdering University of Utah football player Aaron Lowe.
In that stolen car, police found a gun that was determined to be stolen out of Cheyenne, Wyoming, on Oct. 14, 2020 — four days before Gonzalez-Cortez was killed. That gun was forensically linked to both the Millcreek shooting death and the shooting on Parkcrest Drive, according to police.
While in jail, Majok — who was a cellmate of Joker — wrote lyrics to a rap song that allegedly refers to the Millcreek shooting.
“My (expletive) took a life for me. Body drop right in front of me,” the lyrics said, in part.
Ten months later, detectives formally called Majok a suspect in the shooting death of Gonzalez-Cortez.
In October 2021, while Joker was incarcerated in California, Unified police questioned him about the Millcreek killing. That’s when police say he told them about the song lyrics. Two months later, Joker was killed in a shootout with police in a Taylorsville convenience store parking lot.
Then in 2022, Kug was charged with murder and aggravated robbery, first-degree felonies, in the shooting death of Deliford Knight, 41, of Florida, outside the Salt Palace Convention Center. Deng Buk was also charged with murder in that case. Buk Buk and Deng Buk are brothers, according to police.
This story will be updated.