Utahn faces two murder counts after shootout

Published January 4, 2013 12:48 pm
Crime • Murder charges offer no motive for shooting in garage in August.
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After five months of investigation, conflicting stories and confusion, prosecutors have charged a man with murder related to a shootout in a Sandy garage that claimed two victims.

Alexander Leroy Vasquez, 24, of Midvale, was charged Thursday with aggravated murder, murder, aggravated kidnapping, felony discharge of a firearm with injury, and two counts of buying, transferring or possessing a firearm by a restricted person.

The charges, filed in 3rd District Court, are all felonies. Two of them carry a potential life sentence, and the aggravated murder charge is punishable by death.

On Aug. 5, Vasquez and several others — including his relative Simon Vasquez, Cindy James and Paul Giovale — met at a garage at 80 E. 8640 South in Sandy. Once the garage door closed, Alex Vasquez pulled a gun, according to the charges. Simon Vasquez and James tried to leave, but the armed man demanded they stay, the charges add.

Alex Vasquez shot at Giovale with his .38 caliber revolver, and Giovale shot back, the charges state. As the two fired at each other, Simon Vasquez and James were caught in the crossfire.

Alex Vasquez then fled in a car but was later arrested.

Giovale, 41, was hit in the chest, neck and upper back and died at the scene; police say a bullet recovered from his body was consistent with the revolver ammunition. Simon Vasquez, 40, was hit in the neck and died a week later, though the bullet recovered from his body was a .40 caliber round.

James was hit as well but survived.

The charges offer no motive for the shooting, though at the time police said it appeared the incident was not related to alcohol, drugs or gangs.

Alex Vasquez was convicted in 2007 in state court of unlawful possession of a vehicle and escape from custody. He was in prison from 2008 to January 2012, when he was paroled.

By Friday, Vasquez had been returned to the Utah State Prison.

His initial court appearance was set for Wednesday before Judge James Blanch.


Twitter: @mikeypanda



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