Police seeking answers after man with gunshot wound walks into WVC smoke shop

Posted at 9:14 PM, Feb 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-06 23:17:42-05

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah -- A man is in the hospital in critical condition after a bizarre shooting in West Valley City, and police said his condition is worsening

West Valley City Police Lieutenant Dalan Taylor said the call originally came in around 5:30 p.m. Saturday, of a man who'd been shot.

That 31-year old man had reportedly stumbled into the One Stop Smoke Shop at 4645 South, 4000 West.

Steven Sudweeks works as a clerk at the shop, and he said he saw the man come in through the doors.

"He leaned on the counter... and just said he'd been shot," Sudweeks recounted. "He wasn't screaming or anything. That's why I thought he was joking at first."

But he soon realized the man, who is reportedly a regular customer, had indeed been shot in the back near his shoulder.

Sudweeks said they called for help, and another clerk stayed by the man's side.

"He was trying to kind of make sure everything was good, he kept the pressure on the wound, just made sure he was OK," he explained.

The clerk, he continued, "Made sure he didn't pass out or lose consciousness and waited until the cops got there."

Lt. Taylor said when police showed up, the man was in too much pain to talk.

He said the man suffered internal bleeding from the single bullet wound, which appeared to come from a rifle or handgun.

It was clear the man had been shot; but by who, where and with what kind of gun, remained a mystery.

"We have a lot of questions that we need to ask our victim," Taylor said. "While he was on scene, he wasn't giving a whole lot of answers."

While the area is busy, with several shops and stores nearby, Lt. Taylor said no one heard gunshots or witnessed the shooting.

Sudweeks said the man was able to tell the other clerk before police arrived that he'd been shot near the Home Depot, behind the smoke shop.

While the man is a regular customer, he said they don't know a lot about him.

"We don't know his name, but he-- nice guy. He comes in, buys cigars all the time," he said.

He said the customer was always positive and smiling when they saw him. That's part of what makes the entire ordeal so hard to process, he said.

"It's scary," he said. "It's just unnerving."

Lt. Taylor said Saturday night that the victim was sent to surgery. His name has not been released.