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Neighbor recounts hostage situation that turned deadly in South Salt Lake

Posted at 9:35 PM, Jun 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-18 22:29:39-04

SOUTH SALT LAKE — A usually quiet neighborhood experienced tense moments Sunday morning when a man held an elderly couple hostage at 451 East Stanley Avenue.

“Yeah, not much happens around here,” said 23-year-old Steven Pascual.

Pascual was startled to wake up to the sound of several police officers shouting at around 10:30 a.m. Sunday.

“Then I do a double take because one of them has a big gun, and I’m like, ‘Oh dang. Something’s going down,’” he said.

He and his mom tried to go outside to see what was happening.

“Officers were like, 'Ma’am please stay inside,'” Pascual said.

Directly across the street from Pascual’s home, South Salt Lake police engaged a man they believe held an elderly couple against their will.

Abe Martinez

The standoff escalated for more than an hour as Pascual listened from inside his home.

“Then they finally breached and that's when you could hear the gunshots,” he said.

He described hearing three shots.

Investigators say police shot and killed 44-year-old Abe Martinez, but not before he killed 89-year-old Rose Martinez and inflicted critical injuries on a male victim.

Pascual said he didn’t have many interactions with the couple in the four years he has lived in the neighborhood. He noticed they would often spend time outside on their lawn.

Now, he is trying to come to terms with how such a tragic scene could play out just feet away from his front door.

“I feared for the worst when we heard the gunshots, but it really sucks that's what happened them,” he said.