A Provo man has been charged with attempted murder after he allegedly walked away from a car crash, fired a gun at a witness, got in a shootout with police and shot his way into a nearby home before surrendering.
Gene Patrick Contreras, 35, was charged in 4th District Court with two counts of attempted murder and aggravated burglary, first-degree felonies; as well as felony discharge of a firearm and possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person, third-degree felonies.
According to the charges, Contreras ran a red light on May 28 at the intersection of 800 South and Orem Blvd., crashing into another car. After the collision, he allegedly got out of his vehicle and began walking away.
A witness told police she drove after Contreras, rolled down the front passenger-side window of her car and asked him why he was leaving. The woman, whose young son was a passenger in her car, said Contreras pointed a handgun at her and fired three times as she sped away.
One bullet hit the front passenger door, just below the window, and two bullets hit the rear passenger door, according to a probable cause statement.
A short time later, a police officer spotted Contreras and pulled up “only feet away” from him. Contreras allegedly fired his gun at the officer twice while he was still in his car. The officer got out of the vehicle and returned fire, according to the probable cause statement, and Contreras fired one more shot at him before running into the backyard of a nearby home. No one was hit in that exchange of gunfire, according to the charges.
Contreras then shot and destroyed the handle of a locked door where entered a home through the garage, documents state. He confronted the homeowner, demanding the keys to his car. The homeowner told police he pointed to the keys and then complied with Contreras’ instructions to go to the basement.
When Contreras went out the front door to get the car, he saw the police officer who had pursued him in front of the house next door and shot at him again, missing him “by only inches,” according to the officer.
At that point, a second officer across the street fired at Contreras, hitting him in the arm. The suspect went back inside the home, but surrendered a short time later after throwing two handguns out a bedroom window, police say.
According to police, after he surrendered, Contreras asked an officer if he had killed anyone. He was taken to a hospital and treated for his wound, and then was booked into the Utah County jail, where he is being held without bail.
The exchange marked the sixth police shooting in Utah this year, according to The Salt Lake Tribune’s reporting.