LOCAL NEWS

Salt Lake City employee identified as father who killed his son, then himself, officials say

May 21, 2024, 2:46 PM

The exterior of a murder-suicide scene in Salt Lake City after police said a father and city employ...

The exterior of a murder-suicide scene in Salt Lake City after police said a father and city employee shot his son before shooting himself. (KSL TV)

(KSL TV)

SALT LAKE CITY — A tragedy unfolded Sunday after police were called to a home in Salt Lake on a welfare check, and found a 34-year-old man and 6-year-old child deceased inside.

City officials confirmed the father, Samuel Bean Owen, was a city employee. Owen worked as a policy analyst for the city, and according to Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall, he was a friend.

“I’m heartbroken by this unfathomable tragedy,” she said in a statement. “Sam was a dear colleague and friend to so many of us in City Hall. My heart aches for the Owen family and grieves with our city team and the broader community who are struggling with this situation.

Police said the welfare check call was made by a family member. They did not say why the caller was concerned, or when the last time Owen had been seen by family members.

At approximately 10:30 p.m. Sunday, police arrived at Owen’s house near Van Buren Avenue and Main Street.

After police found the bodies, they determined that Owen had first killed his son before taking his own life.

According to court documents, Owen had recently filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in federal court. The latest hearing in the case was held on Friday, two days before he was found.

“This is a very tragic moment for our community,” said Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown in a news release. “These are among the most difficult calls for service our officers, detectives, crime lab technicians, victim advocates, and social workers handle. My condolences and prayers are with those impacted by this loss.”


Contributing: Carter Williams and Pat Reavy, KSL.com; Brianna Chavez, KSL TV


Suicide prevention resources

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts or exhibiting warning signs, call, text, or chat the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988 which is answered 24/7/365 by crisis counselors at the Huntsman Mental Health Institute. All calls to legacy crisis hotlines, including the old National Suicide Prevention hotline, 1-800-273-8255, will also connect to a crisis care worker at the Huntsman Mental Health Institute as well.

Additional resources

  • SafeUT: Parents, students, and educators can connect with a licensed crisis counselor through chat by downloading the SafeUT app or by calling 833-3SAFEUT (833-372-3388)
  • SafeUT Frontline: First responders, including firefighters, law enforcement, EMS, and healthcare professionals can chat with a licensed crisis counselor at no cost 24/7/365 by downloading the SafeUT Frontline app.
  • SafeUTNG: Members of the National Guard can chat with a licensed crisis counselor at no cost 24/7/365 by downloading the SafeUTNG app.
  • Utah Warm Line: For non-crisis situations, when you need a listening ear as you heal and recover from a personal struggle, call 1-833 SPEAKUT 8:00 a.m.-11:00 p.m., 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
  • The Huntsman Mental Health Institute offers a wide variety of programs and services including suicide prevention and crisis services, hospital treatment, therapy & medication management, substance Use & addiction recovery, child & teen programs, and maternal mental health services including birth trauma, pregnancy loss, infertility, and perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.
  • LiveOnUtah.org is a statewide effort to prevent suicide by promoting education, providing resources, and changing Utah’s culture around suicide and mental health. They offer resources for faith based groups, LGBTQ+, youth, employers, firearm suicide prevention, and crisis and treatment options.

Counties in Utah provide services for mental health and substance use disorders. Centers are run by the 13 Local Mental Health and Substance Use Authorities all across the state and offer therapy, substance use disorder treatment, support groups, mobile services, youth treatment, and more.

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Salt Lake City employee identified as father who killed his son, then himself, officials say