Police arrest two people after shooting of man who drove through crowd of protesters in Provo

(Image courtesy of Lisi Merkley | The Daily Universe) A white SUV moves through protesters in Provo on Monday, June 29, 2020. Police say one of the protesters shot into the car, injuring the driver.

Police have arrested two people on Tuesday in connection with a shooting during a protest in downtown Provo.

Jesse Taggart, a 33-year-old Salt Lake City resident, and Samantha Darling, a 27-year-old from Ogden, were taken into custody at the Utah County Jail, Provo Police reported on Twitter.

Taggart was accused of attempted aggravated murder, aggravated assault, rioting and threatening the use of a weapon in a fight, the post states.

Darling, police said, was accused of obstruction of justice and rioting.

“The Provo Police Department extends its thanks to citizens...who gave evidence and testimony to investigators and to allied agencies and officers who assisted this investigation, notably Ogden and Salt Lake City Police Departments,” the agency said in a tweet. “The investigation of criminal acts... is ongoing.”

On Monday, a man shot the driver of an SUV that sped through a crowd of protesters.

The driver’s wounds were not life-threatening and he was able to drive himself to Utah Valley Hospital, according to police.

A group protesting police brutality had gathered at the intersection of University Avenue and Center Street on Monday evening, according to Lt. Brian Taylor of the Provo Police Department, and a second group arrived to express their support for police. Shortly after 8:30 p.m., protesters were in the street, blocking cars, when a large, white SUV heading south on University Avenue pushed its way through a crowd of protesters, knocking several of them aside.

In a video circulating on social media, the SUV can be seen pushing protesters out of the way as it moves forward, and a loud pop can be heard. According to Taylor, the driver of the SUV — a man in his 60s — was shot.

According to a statement released by the city of Provo, the driver of the SUV pulled into the right turn lane to turn onto Center Street when “several protesters began crowding around the vehicle.” The statement from Deputy Police Chief John Geyerman does not mention the SUV driving into several protesters, but adds that the driver “hit the gas trying to leave the situation.”

According to Geyerman, “The same protester ran after the vehicle and shot a second round that went through the rear passenger window” before concealing the weapon. He “later approached another vehicle at 500 North and University Avenue, striking and breaking the window with the handgun.”

In the same statement, Provo Mayor Michelle Kaufusi called peaceful protests “a fundamental right” before adding, “Criminal acts and violence such as we saw last night in Provo were anything but peaceful and are UNACCEPTABLE.”

“There are a number of videos that show a person on the street approaching this vehicle and discharging a couple of bullets into that car,” Taylor said Tuesday morning.

The shooter caught on video was “thoroughly masked,” Taylor said. Police do not know if he was there with one protesting group or the other.

“We don’t know what his intentions were. We don’t know what his involvement with the crowd was,” Taylor said. “We just know that he was there.”

Provo police ask that anyone with information about the shooting call 801-852-6210 or email npaterson@provo.org.