SALT LAKE CITY — A witness says a chaotic scene played out in the hours before a University of Utah football player was shot and killed early Sunday morning.
Investigators with the Salt Lake City Police Department say 21-year-old Aaron Lowe was shot during an argument outside a large house party. A woman suffered critical injuries.
A neighbor saw it happen just feet away from her home.
“Within probably 10 seconds of leaving the house, we heard five or six gunshots go off,” said the woman, who asked to remain anonymous. “It happened right there. We were really close to it.”
She estimates about 200 people were at the house party. She claims both she and her roommate called the police to register a noise complaint because the noise from the party was extraordinarily loud.
“They told us it wasn’t the first noise complaint,” the witness said. “They were going to send someone as soon as possible.”
A spokesperson for SLCPD said the first noise complaint was received by dispatch around 10:30 p.m. on Saturday. Officers weren’t sent to the neighborhood until 12:20 a.m. when a report was received of a fight with a weapon. At 12:25 a.m., officers on the scene began a tactical approach to look for victims and speak with witnesses. At 12:28 a.m., reports came in of shots fired.
Police say officers didn’t immediately respond to the noise complaint because those calls are low-priority on busy evenings.
“There were other priority calls, other in-progress emergencies the Salt Lake City Police Department was handling at that time,” said Brent Weisberg, SLCPD spokesperson. “Our officers, when they are able to do area checks for these noise complaints, they will, but their priority is obviously when there is an in-progress emergency. Those officers were on those in-progress emergency calls at that time.”
The delay is something that haunts the woman who saw the events leading up to the shooting.
“The biggest trauma is hoping and wondering what could have been done differently to get the cops there when the number was called an hour before the shooting happened,” the witness said. “I just hope we can get more trained professionals who can take these calls.”
She believes this shooting could have been avoided if the party was broken up earlier in the night.
Still in shock as she tries to process what happened, she hopes those responsible are brought to justice and that changes can be made to prevent another tragedy like this from happening again.
“That’s not how any of us imagined last night to go,” she said.
Investigators believe several witnesses who were at the party may have videos or photos that will help solve the case. Anyone with information is asked to share tips with Salt Lake City Police at 801-799-3000.
A GoFundMe has been set up to help Lowe's family with funeral-related expenses.