Editor’s Note: For the latest on this developing story, click here: https://www.sltrib.com/news/2021/09/27/salt-lake-city-police/
University of Utah football player Aaron Lowe was shot and killed early Sunday morning at a house party in Sugar House, the Salt Lake City Police Department has confirmed.
Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown says Lowe, from Mesquite, Texas, died at the scene after being shot by an unknown person or persons. Paramedics transported a second person who’d been shot, an adult woman, to a local hospital in critical condition. Police haven’t released her name or age.
Lowe’s death is being investigated as a homicide.
“I am deeply saddened by the shooting death of Aaron Lowe,” Brown said in a statement. “This talented young man touched the lives of so many here in Salt Lake City and in Texas. The Salt Lake City Police Department grieves with and offers our condolences to the Lowe family and the University of Utah community. Our condolences also extend to the other person injured in this shooting. I hope for their quick recovery. These investigations are complex. Our detectives have been hard at work trying to identify the suspect or suspects in this case.”
SLCPD received a noise complaint at around 10:30 p.m. Saturday about a house party in the 2200 block of South Broadmoor Street, near the mouth of Parleys Canyon. In total, police received six calls related to the party between 10:38 p.m. and 12:02 a.m., a police spokesperson said, but did not visit the house because of other assigned emergency calls.
At 12:19, a person called 911 to report a fight involving a weapon. That’s when officers from different parts of the city were first dispatched to the home, police spokesperson Brent Weisberg said.
“The people who were hosting the party wanted it to be a relatively small party. The individuals who showed up were not invited guests. They were asked to leave and that is when this fight occurred,” Weisberg said at a morning news conference.
Lowe was an invited guest at the house party, Weisberg said.
After receiving reports of a fight involving a weapon, police went to the neighborhood and were making a “tactical approach” to the home when they were informed shots had been fired, Weisberg said.
The first officers arrived in the area at 12:25 a.m., police said. The first call reporting the sound of gunshots came at 12:28 a.m.
Officers began making that “tactical approach” at 12:31 a.m. Between 12:32 and 12:36 a.m., officers arrived at the home, located Lowe and the other victim, and began performing first aid.
“The reasons the officers formed their tactical approach was for the safety of the officers and everyone on scene,” Weisberg said. “They were going into an unknown situation. They knew that there was a fight and a weapon involved. ... They were approaching together. They wanted to make sure they had enough resources so they could deal with any potential threat that was on scene and so they could immediately address the victims.”
The police spokesperson could not say how close to the home the officers were when shots were fired. The fight and the shooting appears to have happened outside the house.
Officers who responded to the call found Lowe and the second person who had been shot, and they provided first aid to both people.
Police say several people who were at the party may have witnessed the shooting but left before officers arrived. They hope some of those individuals have photos or videos that could help solve the case.
No arrests have been made. SLCPD is asking anyone with information about the case to call 801-799-3000 and reference case number 21-176828.
“We are devastated to hear about the passing of Aaron Lowe,” Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Aaron’s family and friends, along with the other individual who was harmed in this tragic incident. Aaron was a great teammate, friend, brother and son and was loved by anyone who crossed paths with him. He will be deeply missed.”
Added Utes athletic director Mark Harlan: “We are devastated by the loss of Aaron Lowe earlier this morning. Aaron was a terrific young man, a leader on our football team, and a rock of resiliency and courage. Our prayers are with Aaron’s family, friends, teammates and all who knew and loved him. We also express our deepest concern for the other individual who has been hospitalized as a result of this tragic incident. We have been in communication with Aaron’s family and we are providing support to them, as well as to the student-athletes, coaches and staff in all of our athletics programs, and our focus will remain on them.”
The Utah athletic department has canceled all football media availability for this week, including Whittingham’s normal Monday morning press conference. With the Utes on a bye, Whittingham isn’t scheduled to conduct his weekly in-season ESPN700 radio show on Tuesday evening.
Lowe, a high school teammate of the late Ty Jordan at West Mesquite High School in Texas, was named the first recipient of the Ty Jordan Memorial Scholarship on Aug. 31. Lowe switched from No. 2 to No. 22 this season in an effort to honor Jordan’s legacy.
“Ty made everyone around him better,” Lowe said after receiving the scholarship. “He made me better. My friendship with Ty means a lot because he was always pushing me to be my best. He never let me settle for less. I want to make sure his legacy lives on through me.”
Jordan died on Christmas night of an accidental self-inflicted gunshot wound.