One man shot another to death in what police are calling a “road rage incident” that began on Interstate 15 on Wednesday.
According to Sandy police, a 32-year-old man said he was driving north on I-15 shortly before 9:30 a.m. when he cut off a second vehicle. Police have not released the name of the driver of the second car, but his family has identified him as Chris Mortensen, 42, of Pleasant Grove.
The first driver told police he “brake checked” Mortensen, who signaled that they should both pull off I-15. According to police, rather than continue on the highway, the first driver followed Mortensen off the highway and parked behind him on Holiday Park Drive near 10640 South.
Mortensen got out of his vehicle, according to a probable cause statement, and walked up to the first driver, whose window was three-quarters of the way down. Mortensen struck the first driver and asked him what he was doing.
The first driver told police he pulled a gun out from under his seat and told Mortensen to back away. Mortensen tried to grab the gun, the first driver said, and — after a “short struggle” — he fired one shot, striking Mortensen in the chest and killing him.
The first driver said Mortensen did not have any weapons, but he pulled out his gun because he was “scared.” He told police he did not know what would happen if Mortensen took his gun from him. He added, “it all happened so fast,” and that he didn’t leave the driver’s seat of his vehicle until after the shooting.
The suspect has been booked into the Salt Lake County jail for investigation of murder and felony discharge of a firearm. He is being held without bail.
The Salt Lake Tribune generally does not name suspects unless they have been charged with a crime.
In an online fundraiser, Mortensen’s family described him as a “dedicated husband” and “a doting father to his young kids, a hard worker and sole provider for his family. He walks into a room and you knew he was there. He would give anyone the shirt off his back or come to your aid at the drop of a hat.”
Mortensen is survived his wife, Nicole, three daughters and one son. As of Friday morning, the fundraiser had slightly exceeded its $10,000 goal.