Husband of Utah man killed on I-84 releases statement calling for ‘swift justice’; suspected shooter captured

(Rich Kane | Salt Lake Tribune file photo) Owners of the Salt Lake City gay bar the Sun Trapp, from left: Riley Richter, Michael Goulding and Dennis Gwyther, pose in 2018. Gwyther was shot and killed Wednesday while driving on Interstate 84 near the border of Utah and Idahio.

A Salt Lake City resident shot and killed near the Idaho-Utah border on Wednesday loved to have fun and laugh and was like “a kid inside an adult body,” according to a statement posted on his husband’s Facebook page.

Dennis Gwyther was commuting to his job as a Boise, Idaho-based flight attendant when he was reportedly shot by another motorist on a stretch of Interstate 84 known as Rattlesnake Pass. Idaho authorities captured the Los Angeles man, Jonathan Llana, in connection with the incident on Friday afternoon.

“We are still in shock and have not processed much as the suspect is still at large and [the] investigation is pending,” a statement on Matt Gwyther’s — Dennis Gwyther’s husband — Facebook page reads. “We want him caught and swift justice.”

The statement describes Dennis Gwyther as a loved husband, father and brother. It says Dennis and Matthew Gwyther were married in 2013 on the day Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage was struck down in court — the Facebook post says December 10, presumably a typo for December 20 — and that Matt Gwyther loved being the “bonus dad” of two teenage children.

“[He] loved gadgets,” the statement says. “A literal genius when it comes to technology. He could create anything especially if it involves wiring.”

Officials said Wednesday that the motive for the shooting was unknown. Matt Gwyther and a passenger were driving in a Range Rover when Gwyther was reportedly shot by the driver of a Volkswagon Jetta after the two vehicles cleared a traffic slow down caused by two semitrailers driving side-by-side.

Gwyther’s passenger was injured and hospitalized, and Idaho troopers pursued a vehicle matching the shooter’s description until it crashed into a canal along Interstate 86. The driver of the crashed Jetta then exited the vehicle and fled, authorities said, leaving a weapon behind.

The Utah Highway Patrol tweeted that Llana had been detained Friday about 10 miles from the crash location.