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Multi-city chase ends in gunfire, 2 suspects hospitalized

Published July 17, 2014 6:27 am

Mobile firefight •Suspects shot at pursuing officers, were wounded in return fire.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A high-speed chase through several Salt Lake County communities ended in a gun battle that left two aggravated robbery suspects in the hospital early Thursday morning.

Unified Police Detective Ken Hansen said the drama unfolded just after midnight when officers spotted a car containing the suspects, Ramon S. Franco, 31, and a Celene J. Hernandez, 19, and attempted to pull it over just after midnight. The suspects sped away and a chase of 15-20 minutes ensued.

Multiple law enforcement agencies became involved as the pursuit wound through portions of Salt Lake City, West Valley City, Kearns and Taylorsville. During the chase, the suspects fired numerous rounds at officers, and the gunfire intensified after UPD successfully spiked the tires of the suspects' vehicle near 4500 South and Redwood Road.

The suspects' vehicle came to a stop and as police returned fire, both the man and woman were wounded. Franco was taken to an unidentified hospital in critical condition. Hernandez, who fled the vehicle and ran onto the nearby campus of Salt Lake Community College before being taken into custody, was in serious condition.

Hansen said no officers were hurt, though a police cruiser and an apartment building were damaged by gunfire.

Hansen said both suspects, both of West Valley City, would be booked into Salt Lake County Jail when they recover.

Hansen confirmed that the two were linked to another man and woman arrested after a Tuesday chase in connection with a violent armed robbery of a July 11 Kmart in West Valley City, as well as a series of violent crimes in Utah County.

The names of the earlier arrestees in West Valley City were not immediately released, with police saying they were still in the process of looking for other possible suspects.

remims@sltrib.com

Twitter: @remims