Friends and coworkers speak as Park City bartender shot in the head clings to life

Posted at 9:39 PM, Feb 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-24 23:39:12-05

PARK CITY, Utah -- A man known throughout Park City for having a bright smile and a big heart is clinging to life after being shot in the head Monday.

"He's just one of those guys, the minute you meet him you feel like you've known him for years," said Hilary Reiter.

Reiter said the last drink she had was poured by 37-year-old Jose Fernandez at the No Name Saloon Friday night. Fernandez has worked at the bar for about a decade.

"He poured me a glass of wine and I remember joking with him, 'How did you even know what I was going to order,'" Reiter recalls.

Reiter said that is the kind of bartender Jose is, he knows and loves his customers, and they love him back.

"He's got this great smile, and he's a great teddy bear, and he's got cheeks you just want to pinch," Reiter said.

She said she remembers getting silly with Jose later in the evening and taking pictures together.

"Obviously at the time I didn't understand the significance of those photos, but they are very special to me now," she said.

Park City police say Fernandez was at a party, with six other people, at a condo on the 1500 block of Empire Avenue around 5 a.m. Monday. They say a fight broke out, and Fernandez was shot in the forehead.

"I'm wracking my brain trying to come up with various scenarios that could have resulted in this, and I can come up with absolutely nothing," Reiter said.

A couple of people at the party ran to the nearby 7-Eleven on Park Avenue and told the clerk to call police. When police arrived, they arrested 27-year-old James Henfling of Midvale.

He is being charged with attempted murder. Fernandez remains at a Salt Lake Valley hospital in critical condition, while friends hold out hope that he manages to pull through.

"Everyone is rallying together and sending our thoughts and prayers to Jose," said Josh Tyquiengco.

Tyquiengco worked with Jose for four years at the No Name Saloon.

"He was a great mentor, he taught me everything I know about the bar scene," Tyquiengco said.

He said Jose is an ambassador for Park City, bringing people together for all the local events.

"He knew how to direct people to where the fun is to be had, which is what Park City is all about, it's just unfortunate that something like this had to happen in a town where it's not really heard of," Tyquiengco said.

Park City Police said they don't have a motive for the shooting, but they did say alcohol was definitely involved. They also said the victim and suspect know each other but they aren't sure in what capacity.