Salt Lake City’s police chief pleaded with residents Tuesday to “stop with the gun violence” and said he supports raising the minimum age to purchase firearms — a declaration that came after a fatal shooting at an apartment building in the capital city.
The shooting at a west-side apartment complex is still being investigated, Chief Mike Brown said at a news conference Tuesday afternoon, but the Salt Lake City Police Department believe it may have been an attempted robbery.
According to a news release from police, one man died Monday after suffering multiple gunshot wounds at the Seasons Pebble Creek apartment complex, near the intersection of 1700 South and Redwood Road. He was identified Wednesday as 19-year-old Anthony Wheatley.
An 18-year-old man and a 19-year-old man were also shot and wounded. And a 21-year-old man was injured when someone struck him with a gun.
The 18-year-old is still in the hospital in “serious” condition, the release stated. The wounded 19-year-old and the 21-year-old have been released from care.
Witnesses told police there was “a very large commotion, a fight” just before shots were fired, police spokesman Brent Weisberg said Monday. After the shooting, those witnesses say they saw several people leave in cars.
Officers later located a car on Redwood Road near 1100 South that witnesses said had two wounded people inside, a spokesperson said.
Authorities located another car near Redwood Road and 60 South with one wounded person inside. Officers performed life-saving efforts on the person, who was taken to a hospital.
Police said previously that the shooting appears to be isolated and targeted, involving people who know one another. No arrests have been made, Brown said.
Detectives are asking that anyone with information about the shooting call 801-799-3000 and reference case number 22-106677.
Calling upon the community
At the news conference on Tuesday, Brown referred to gun violence and gun crimes as an “epidemic.”
The police chief said there have been 30 robberies and 60 aggravated assaults involving firearms in Salt Lake City since the start of the year, as well as more than 28 drive-by shootings.
When asked whether he supports raising the minimum age to purchase guns, Brown said, “I don’t see why we allow an 18-year-old to be able to go in and buy an assault rifle and the ammo to fire that weapon.”
It is not clear how old the perpetrator is in the apartment shooting. But he added that raising the minimum age would be “a very responsible act to do in our community.”
He later clarified that he believes the minimum age should be raised for all guns, not just assault rifles.
Brown said SLCPD is “doing everything we can” to get guns off the streets, including making traffic stops and keeping close watch on “hot blocks” in the city.
“We confiscate a lot of guns,” he said. “We take guns off the street each and every day through strong, proactive police work.”
But Brown called upon the public to help as well, by sending tips to the police about past and potential gun crimes, and by participating in the department’s gun-buyback event happening Saturday.
If you know that a gun crime is going to happen, he urged, call 911.
“You could be the voice,” Brown said, “that prevents the next gun tragedy in our community.”