Police identify several suspects in shooting, high-speed chase

Posted at 2:51 PM, Sep 10, 2014
and last updated 2014-09-11 21:28:11-04

KEARNS, Utah -- A shooting at a strip mall parking lot in Kearns led police on a high-speed chase Wednesday afternoon.

The shooting took place just after 2 p.m in the Kearns Center parking lot on 4090 West 4515 South. According to Sheriff Jim Winder, it involved two separate groups of men. One innocent bystander, an adult male, was hit in the arm.

"All of a sudden we just hear a car come in and start shooting bullets," said witness Karen Santiago.

Bullets holes could be seen riddled through a parked car belonging to Jose Hernandez's sister-in-law.

"I was super scared because I thought my nephews or something were in the car," said Hernandez, who works in the plaza.

A police officer just happened to be in the plaza pawn shop, doing a follow-up on a separate investigation when the shots were fired. Five men fled the parking lot on foot, and the other five took off in a gold Camry.

"They placed the public in significant jeopardy with their speeds and recklessness," Winder said.

A 35-minute police pursuit ensued, in which the suspects led police through several jurisdictions, winding in and out of traffic along I-15 and reaching speeds of more than 120 miles per hour.

"During the course of the pursuit, our officers witnessed a firearm thrown from the gold vehicle," Winder said.

Despite the dangerous conditions, police felt justified to continue the pursuit because they knew at least one person had been shot, and they didn't know what else the suspects were capable of.

"We heard we had as many as four people impacted by gunfire, some felt we had a multiple victim shooting situation," Winder said.

The chase finally came to an end at the intersection of 700 West 5900 South in Murray.

"We were setting spikes in various locations but the suspect ironically struck a Salt Lake County maintenance vehicle, specifically a trailer that was being pulled by one, that caused the car to veer off and collide with a fixed object," Winder said.

That fixed object happened to be the fence outside Monte Adams home.

"Another three or five feet this way that would have been through the front of my house so that kind of worries me," Adams said.

There is also a middle school just one block away.

"30 minutes more, this corner would have been saturated with children; thank God it took place when it did," Adams said.

All five suspects in the car were apprehended at gunpoint. No one was injured during the pursuit or crash.

Police said Eddie Ovalle, Alex Mejia and Lauriano Herrera were in the vehicle when it fled and were arrested. Two juvenile suspects who were in the vehicle were also taken into custody. The three adults were booked into jail on charges that include aggravated assault.

The five suspects who fled the parking lot on foot were also apprehended Wednesday in West Jordan. All ten suspects are being questioned by police, who believe the shooting was gang related.