Charges filed in shooting death in Kearns

Police say three have been charged and that a 15-year-old was also involved.

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

Three people have been charged with a shooting that left one man dead and two other people wounded in Kearns.

Jonathan Johnson, 20, and Shihab Wesaga, 18, were both charged with first degree murder as well as robbery and felony discharge of a weapon. A 17-year-old was also charged in the case, and police say a 15-year-old was involved in the crime.

Prosecutors allege in charging documents that Alonso Gerardo Garcia-Mendoza, 32, of Kearns, was shot to death in an attempted robbery.

On March 9, police responded to the parking lot of an LDS church in Kearns at 5305 West 5400 S. where they found two injured men outside a crashed black BMW, according to the documents. They said they needed help and that their friend, Garcia-Mendoza, was dead. Officers found him in the driver’s seat of the car. The other two victims were taken to a hospital. One of them had two collapsed lungs as a result of the shooting.

Police obtained surveillance footage, which showed a red Saturn fleeing the scene. Police tracked the car to a Maverik’s where video showed three men exit the car. The car was found abandoned in a neighborhood north of the gas station. The license plate of the car allowed police to trace the car back to the 17-year-old.

The 17-year-old told police that his friend, who is 15, organized a meeting with Alonso to rob him. He said they needed guns and told the 17-year-old to pick up two “shooters.” He told police he did not know the two men that he picked up. He said he drove to the parking lot and parked near the BMW. The two men got out an approached the BMW with guns. He said the BMW pulled away and that is when the men started shooting at the car.

Police did not say how they originally identified Wesaga and Johnson.

Wesaga told police he didn’t know about the shooting and had been at his girlfriend’s house, according to the charging documents. The girlfriend told police that Wesaga met up with her after the shooting. She said he seemed shaken and told her he had been in a robbery that went badly. Clothing of his at her house matched clothing in the surveillance footage.

One of the surviving victims identified Johnson as one of the shooters, according to the charging documents. Police said they found the 15-year-old’s prints on the BMW and Wesaga’s prints inside the Saturn.