Police say Kearns shooting did not involve a carjacking

Unified Police originally said there were three cars involved but now believe there were only two.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Salt Lake County Sheriff Rosie Rivera at the scene of a homicide in Kearns, on Tuesday, March 9, 2021.

The Unified Police Department said Wednesday that a carjacking was not part of Tuesday’s shooting in Kearns.

Alonso Gerardo Garcia-Mendoza, 32, of Kearns, died Tuesday in a shooting shortly after 4 p.m. behind a meetinghouse of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at 5305 W. 5400 South. Two other people were injured. One is in critical condition while the other is in serious condition.

Police believe the victims, who were in a BMW, were fired at by men in a red Saturn. Garcia-Mendoza, who was driving the BMW, died and the car crashed into a wall.

Police said Tuesday that they believed the other passengers in the car stole a white car and fled after shooting that car’s driver. On Wednesday, Sgt. Melody Cutler said police now believe the two victims fled on foot. They are both hospitalized.

Neighbors said on Tuesday that 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. Police are looking for the red Saturn.