Salt Lake County prosecutors filed murder charges Friday against a 32-year-old man who admitted to fatally shooting another driver he “brake-checked” on Interstate 15 last month.
Law enforcement documents state Rodrigo Monroy pulled in front of Christopher Mortensen’s truck and “abruptly slammed on his brakes” while the two were driving north on I-15 around 9:30 a.m. Oct. 26.
Mortensen was pulling a trailer and quickly braked to avoid a crash, his passenger told investigators. The two drivers then exchanged “verbal hostilities and hand gestures” before they both exited at 10600 South and stopped near a convenience store by the 100 West intersection, charging documents state.
Mortensen, 42, stopped behind Monroy’s truck before walking up to the driver’s side window. He then hit Monroy’s truck, and Monroy pulled a gun, according to charging documents. The two then struggled over the weapon through Monroy’s partially open window.
Once Monroy regained control of the gun, he opened fire as Mortensen backed away and said, “No,” charging documents state.
Monroy told investigators that he knew Mortensen wasn’t armed, the documents state. He said he pulled the gun because he was scared and he didn’t know what would happen if Mortensen took his weapon.
“It all happened so fast,” he said, according to a probable cause statement.
Mortensen died from the gunshot wound. An autopsy showed he’d been shot through the heart.
Monroy was arrested after the shooting and booked into Salt Lake County jail. Prosecutors have asked that he remain in jail without bail as the case is adjudicated.
“Given the Defendant’s willingness to escalate the mutual altercation to deadly force and the fact that the Defendant is now charged with murder, there is clear and convincing evidence that the Defendant poses substantial danger to the community or is likely to flee the jurisdiction of the court, if released on bail,” prosecutors wrote.
Mortensen is survived by his wife and four children, according to a personal obituary. He had another daughter, London, who died in 2014 at 7 years old — just before the family moved from Arizona to Utah, a fundraiser for his daughter states.
“We take comfort in knowing he finally has his baby girl, London, in his arms again. During her tragic loss, his love and faith is what kept his family going,” according to a post on his Utah Homicide Survivors’ donation page. “We hope to emulate his strong spirit as we help them navigate this tragedy.
Mortensen was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and served a mission in London. He liked to travel and was considered a foodie, his obituary states. He especially enjoyed tacos and tamales.
“He was service minded and an extremely loyal man. He helped everyone that he ran into, whether he knew them or not,” the obituary reads. “Chris was extremely protective of everyone, even strangers. He is deeply loved and missed by all who know him.”
Five days after Mortensen’s death, Utah law enforcement responded to another “road rage” shooting on I-15 in Kaysville. In that case, a woman passed a car on the right, angering the car’s male driver, police said.
The man then closely followed the woman’s vehicle. Police said she “tapped her brakes ... to tell him to back off,” and the man sped up to her passenger side. He then fired several shots from a pellet gun, hitting her windshield and passenger-side doors and windows, police said.
She wasn’t injured. The man was booked into the Davis County jail on suspicion of aggravated assault and other offenses. The 51-year-old remains in custody without bail, court records indicate.