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Police identify suspect after 3 hit by gunfire at grocery store in West Valley City

Posted at 2:01 PM, Apr 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-12 09:12:03-04

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah — Two women in their twenties and a young girl suffered gunshot wounds in their legs at a Smith's grocery store in West Valley City Wednesday afternoon, and a suspect is in custody.

Police confirmed around 5:30 p.m. Wednesday that a man taken to an ambulance in a stretcher near the Shadowbrook Apartments is the suspect in the shooting.

Rufino Cervantes

He was later identified as 36-year-old Rufino Cervantes and has been booked into jail on charges of felony discharge of a firearm with injury, aggravated assault, and possession of a firearm by a restricted person.

Police say the man suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the leg, and police say that bullet fragmented and struck the three victims.

Police say the man was taken to a hospital for treatment prior to being booked.

According to West Valley City Police,  the shooting happened at the Smith's grocery store at 4065 S. Redwood Rd. around 2 p.m.

"The best information we have right now is that a male suspect was in front of the store, he walked up to the entrance of the store and proceeded to fire several rounds into the store," said Chief Deputy Matt Elson.

Rufino Cervantes

Police said the man fled the scene after firing the weapon. Two adults and a child inside the store were hit by bullet fragments.

"We have a female victim three to four years old suffering a wound to the leg," Elson said. "We have two other females, mid-twenties, who also have wounds to the leg."

Hugo Padila says his wife and daughter were struck by the gunfire.

"He was just passing through and started to shoot," he said of the suspect. "He shot my wife and my daughter."

Padila said the family is visiting from the Las Vegas area to get cancer treatments for their daughter, and he thinks the shooting was random rather than targeted. Police say all three victims are in stable condition and none of the injuries are considered life-threatening.

Elson said they aren't sure yet what the motive for the shooting may be.

"Right now it just appears totally random, which again is very concerning because you and I—we all got to stores, we all go shopping and do things, and we want to feel like were safe in our communities," Elson said.

Police say after the shooting the suspect fled northbound and through a parking lot and then onto Redwood Road. He was ultimately taken into custody at the Shadowbrook Apartments.

Several Granite School District shools were sheltering in place as police searched for the suspect. Parents of students at some schools were asked to accompany their children home rather than allowing them to walk home alone. Those restrictions were later lifted.

Police urged residents of Redwood Apartments, Shadowbrook Apartments and Somerset Apartments to shelter in place as officers searched for the suspect but those restrictions were lifted shortly after 4 p.m.