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Police release footage of suspect in fatal shooting

Published March 15, 2012 4:26 pm

Crime • Police ask for public's help solving slaying.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Salt Lake City police on Thursday continued to investigate the shooting death of a man at a smoke shop.

The victim was identified as Stephen Guadalupe Chavez, 26, a store employee and son of the owner.

Meanwhile, authorities released video surveillance and photos of a suspect wanted for questioning in connection with Wednesday night's homicide. They're asking anyone who recognizes either of two cars used by the suspect to call police.

Thursday afternoon, supporters and friends of Chavez carefully tied balloons to the locked doors of the smoke shop. Several decorative candles were placed near the doorway on top of crate in memoriam of Chavez.

Neighbors in the area who knew Chavez described him as a laid back guy who was nice to everyone.

Officers said a verbal confrontation began about 7:30 p.m. between a man in a red sedan and a group of people standing outside of C.J. Smoke Shop, 876 W. 800 South.

Police said the suspected shooter then left, but returned about 20 or 30 minutes later in another vehicle — a dark blue Honda, 2001-2003, which likely belongs to the driver, not the shooter.

About 8 p.m., the suspect was involved in another confrontation, which escalated into gunfire. The suspect fired several rounds as he chased the victim, a Latino man in his mid-20s, inside the smoke shop. The shooter then allegedly fired additional rounds as he was leaving the scene, police said.

Officers said the suspect is described a Latino in his late 20s, about 5-foot-8, weighing about 140 pounds. The man had a thin mustache and long black hair that is slicked back and shaved short on the sides. He was last seen wearing tan pants, a light-colored shirt and a dark jacket.

Anyone with information is asked to call police at 801-799-3000.

Janelle Stecklein

Cimaron Neugebauer contributed to this story