Officer says fatal Kearns shooting near church was ‘two crime scenes’

Police are looking for a car that left the site and say its occupants are likely armed and dangerous.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Police investigate a shooting in Kearns in an LDS church parking lot, where one person was killed and two were injured, on Tuesday, March 9, 2021.

One person is dead and two are injured after a shooting and carjacking in Kearns on Tuesday.

Unified police Detective Ken Hansen said the shooting happened behind a meetinghouse of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at 5305 W. 5400 South. He said a fourth person may have been injured, but that individual apparently left the scene. Police are checking hospitals in an effort to find that person.

The person who died was identified by UPD on Wednesday as Alonso Gerardo Garcia-Mendoza, 32, of Kearns. The two surviving victims were both hospitalized; one is in critical condition, the other is in serious condition.

The shooting began just after 4 p.m. at the south end of the church parking lot, Hansen said, where someone in a red Saturn shot the driver of a dark BMW. The BMW continued moving after the driver was shot, and it crashed into a wall.

The other occupants of the crashed car then ran north. Hansen said those individuals shot the driver of a white Dodge Charger on the other side of the parking lot and took off in that car.

“It’s two crime scenes essentially,” Hansen said.

Police were originally called and told that a car accident had occurred because of the BMW. When they arrived, they discovered the fatal shooting.

Hansen said police are reviewing surveillance footage and looking at shell casings to determine what occurred. Police are looking for the red Saturn, and say its four male occupants are likely armed and should not be approached.

Neighbors said the shooting felt “close to home.”

Jackie Clayburn, whose home borders the parking lot where the shooting happened, said she felt like her house was under attack when she first heard the shots. There were so many it sounded like an automatic rifle, she said.

Her 11-year-old daughter was doing dishes when the shooting began. After the first round of shots stopped, her daughter went to their sliding glass window to look outside.

“It started again and I said, ‘Get away from the window, get away from the window,’” Clayburn said.

She said it happened so quickly it was difficult to know what had occurred until police began swarming the area.

A man who lives down the street declined to give his name but said kids like to play in the church parking lot.

He said, “I just know my kids won’t be going over to play in that parking lot anymore.”

Anyone with information regarding the people who may have been involved in the shooting can submit a tip anonymously on Unified Police’s website or call dispatch at 801-743-7000.

(Photo courtesy of Unified Police Department) Police are looking for this red Saturn, which they say left the scene of a fatal shooting in Kearns on Tuesday.