2 juveniles dead, one injured in West Valley City shooting; 1 teen in custody

Posted at 11:26 AM, Jan 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-16 22:44:58-05

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah — Two juveniles are dead and one critically injured after a shooting in West Valley City on Thursday.

FOX 13 has learned the victims were football players at Hunter High School, one 14 years old, while the other was 15. The boy who was injured is 15 years old and currently in critical condition in the hospital.

Officials have released the identities of the victims who died as Tivani Lopati (14) and Paul Tahi (15). The name of the third victim was not released by police but in a tweet from the Granite School District, school officials identified the student who is in critical condition as Ephraim Asiata.

GOFUNDME LINKS: How to help families of West Valley City shooting victims

In the social media post, the district reported the Principal of Hunter High had spoken with the Asiata family and asked for prayers during this difficult time. Ephraim is the son of former Utah Utes and Minnesota Vikings player Matt Asiata.

The shooting occurred on a sidewalk along 4100 South and the Mountain View Corridor.

Three 14 year old males and a 15 year old were taken into custody in connection to the incident. One of the 14-year-old teenagers, who is believed to be the shooter, has been booked into juvenile detention. The three other teens were questioned and released.

Community mourns teens killed in West Valley City shooting

According to a police spokesperson, the shooting stemmed from a dispute between two groups of students from Hunter High School and another school.

West Valley City Shooting Map

A student who knew both of the boys killed shared his memories of the time he spent with them at school.

"They both were really good guys, we were close. If you needed anything, they'd be there for you, they were really great. I'm going to act like they're still here and that they never left. I'm going to remember all the words and everything that they did for me."

Raw video below of a friend talking about the two boys killed in West Valley City

Friend remembers victims of deadly shooting

Officers were also seen at another location in a neighborhood near the school where evidence was discovered.

West Valley City Police confirmed that a gun believed to be connected to the shooting had been recovered.

West Valley City weapon
Weapon connected to West Valley City shooting found in neighborhood yard

Hunter High School, along with several other Granite School District schools, were originally placed under shelter-in-place protocols due to the shooting.

Because students may know some of the victims, grief counselors are being made available at the schools Thursday and Friday.

"Our hearts are broken that this has occurred," said Ben Horsley with the Granite School District.

Under the shelter-in-place protocols that were lifted, Hunter High School, Hunter Junior High, Hillside and Whittier Elementary Schools order had their exterior doors secured and no one was allowed on or off school campuses.

"We’re heartbroken about today's shooting in West Valley City," wrote Gov. Spencer Cox in a tweet. "Our prayers are with the victims, the families, students, and everyone impacted by this senseless act of violence."

"I am deeply saddened to learn about the horrible act of gun violence that occurred today near Hunter High School," tweeted Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson. "We must never accept the shootings of children as norm. This is heartbreaking and frustrating. My deepest sympathies go out to the victims and their families and to everyone at the school affected by this senseless shooting."