Man under investigation for hate crime after shots are fired at two Hispanic men

Police say the 33-year-old, who was booked into Salt Lake County jail, made racist comments regarding the victims when questioned.

A suspect who police believe fired paintballs and bullets at two Hispanic men on Tuesday is under investigation for a possible hate crime.

According to Murray police, a Hispanic man reported that on Tuesday at about noon, two men in a silver car drove past him near 136 W. Fireclay Ave. and shot at him with paintballs, almost hitting him. According to the victim, the driver of the car then pulled out a handgun and began firing real bullets at him.

The victim and a friend, who is also Hispanic, got in his truck and began following the silver car — and, they said, both men in the car fired guns at them. The victim chased the suspect to 3185 S. State Street, where he ran into the suspect’s car. The suspect continued to shoot at him; South Salt Lake police recovered a number of .40 caliber casings and bullet fragments from that area.

The victim continued to pursue the silver car to 270 E. 2700 South, where he rammed it again “to the point where the vehicle was inoperable,” according to police. One of the suspects fled on foot, and the second was detained by police.

Police found two bullets in the victim’s tires, and two other trucks that were not involved in the chase were damaged by gunfire. There were no injuries.

The suspect, a 33-year-old man, “made multiple racist comments regarding the Hispanic victims,” when he was questioned by police, according to the probable cause statement. “The suspect continued stating negative comments about the victims’ nationality,” and will be investigated for a possible hate crime.

Pending formal charges, the man was booked into the Salt Lake County jail for investigation of aggravated assault, assault and felony discharge of a weapon. He is being held without bail. The second suspect has not been located by police as of Wednesday afternoon.