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Two hurt in West Valley City drive-by shooting

Published October 2, 2013 5:38 pm

Crime • Police do not know a motive; several neighbors were outside at the time.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Boe Sweazey was in his West Valley City apartment Wednesday afternoon when gunfire rang out. The 11-year-old looked out his window to see a victim sitting on the ground.

"He had his hand on his neck, and blood was coming out," Sweazey said.

Two men had been critically wounded in a drive-by shooting across the street, in front of a home near 3840 West and Christopherson Drive (4480 South), said West Valley City police Lt. Lamont Cox.

From a nearby apartment, a neighbor watched the shooting unfold after he opened his blinds for light. The neighbor, who asked not to be identified for fear of retaliation, said he saw a medium-shade green Mazda 626 pull up near two men who were walking just after 4 p.m. Someone in the car apparently said something that attracted the pedestrians' attention.

"They apparently recognized the people [in the car]. One of them tried running away," the neighbor said. He heard three shots from the car, before it pulled forward near the second victim, who was trying to flee. Three more shots were fired, and the Mazda left, the neighbor said.

"It was a really smooth drive — no peel-out or anything," the neighbor said. Police had not made any arrests as of Wednesday night. Cox said the motive for the shooting was not yet known.

One victim left on foot; several witnesses said he went to his apartment and emerged when medics arrived, to tell them he had been shot.

The other victim, who goes by the name George, appeared to be more seriously injured, the neighbor said. George stood up, "dazed," and walked south down 3840 West, the neighbor said. The neighbor followed until George sat on the ground again a few houses away. Someone had given him a towel; the neighbor pressed it against the wound near his neck until medics arrived. As George's clothing was cut from his body, the neighbor said he also saw wounds to his back and thigh.

"His clothes ... were completely soaked [with blood]," the neighbor said. The neighbor said he heard George tell medics that he was having trouble breathing before he was loaded onto an ambulance.

Cox said the victims, ages 30 and 26, were expected to survive; he could not confirm details of either victim's injuries.

The shooting occurred near several neighbors who were outside, including a group of children playing across the street. Aaliyana Scott, 8, was reading a book on the stairs outside her apartment when gunfire rang out. She watched the other children scatter, but one little girl — a first-grader — could only stand in the grass and cry until a relative grabbed her.

"I got scared," Scott said. "I just barely got home from school, and then I heard gunshots."

Neighbor Kathleen Kreiser was walking her dog, Jubilee, about two houses away from the victims when they were shot. She said she was brand new to the neighborhood.

"I just moved in yesterday," she said. "I cannot believe this."

ealberty@sltrib.com

Twitter: @erinalberty