Friends gather to mourn friend shot and killed with mother
Washington City • Friends of Owen Christopher Ellis gathered in the driveway of the 19-year-old's house on Saturday to mourn the loss of their friend who was shot and killed along with his mother the night before.
"He was a great, honest guy," said Jake Kasner of his friend who went by Chris. "He was a talented basketball player. We used to play a few times a week."
Washington City police found Ellis' body and that of his mother, Michelle Jones, 42, just before 9 p.m. Friday near their home's garage after an apparent domestic dispute erupted in gunfire.
Police Chief Jim Keith said Jones' husband, Richard Jones, 46, was found alive in a bedroom with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. He was transported to University Medical Center in Las Vegas where he was in critical condition Saturday night, according to hospital spokeswoman Danita Cohen.
Keith said a resident of the house at 126 Wagon Wheel Drive called police reporting gunfire Friday night. Responding officers heard a single gunshot before discovering bodies of the mother and son and the wounded Richard Jones.
"We just don't have any further information at this time about what brought this on," Keith told The Salt Lake Tribune Saturday afternoon. "We are still in the process of investigating."
Kasner said his friend did not get along well with his step-father. He said Michelle and Richard Jones had their problems.
He said two years ago when she threatened to leave Richard Jones, he did not take the news well.
"Rick [Richard Jones] put all the furniture in the backyard and lit it on fire," said Kasner. "They [the parents] were trying to work things out, though. They were good people."
He described Michelle Jones as fun and caring.
"She was one of the friendliest persons you'd want to meet, but strict," said Kasner. "She'd get on us for doing stupid things like fighting."
Kasner was one of a steady stream of friends who showed up at the house to pay their respects to Ellis, with many wearing hoodies as a steady rain fell.
Some brought flowers while others brought unlit candles and cards.
Milo Kvarfordt, 18, said Ellis had earlier attended Pine Valley High School where they used to shoot baskets.
"They were good times," said Kvarfordt.
Besides liking basketball, Ellis loved rap music and was such a fan of the New York Yankees that he recently had the baseball team's logo tattooed on his arm, his friends said.
Kvarfordt said Ellis was planning to start classes at Dixie State College in St. George this month.
As a tribute, those gathered at the house Saturday said they were going to hike to the summit of a large nearby hill and plant a pirate flag in Ellis' memory.
"It will also have bandanas tied to it signed by all his friends," said Kasner.