Suspects at large in WestFest stabbings; man, juvenile arrested for second fight at same WVC event

Police were busy Friday night, June 16, 2017, when violence broke out in separate incidents at WestFest in Centennial Park, 5415 West 3100 South. Photo: Gephardt Daily/SLCScanner

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah, June 17, 2017 (Gephardt Daily) — Three stabbing victims were taken to the hospital Friday night, and a suspect in an unrelated fight was taken into custody after altercations at WestFest, a festival in West Valley City.

Both incidents are being investigated as possibly gang related.

West Valley City police responded at about 9:30 p.m. to the scene, at Centennial park, 5355 W. 3100 South.

“During the altercation three people were stabbed,” said a news release issued Saturday by WVCPD. “One male was stabbed in the chest and was transported to an area hospital in critical condition. In the same altercation, two other males were stabbed; one male was stabbed in the back and was transported to an area hospital in stable condition. Another male suffered cut wounds to his hands and forearms and was transported to an area hospital for treatment.”

All the victims are in their late teens to early 20s, the prepared statement said. Information about the victims and their condition is not yet available, the statement continued.

WVCPD officers working at WestFest and “… additional officers responded to assist with crowd control and to help break up the fight,” the statement said. “The suspects in this case could not be located and no arrests were made related to this incident.

“Separately, but within the same crowd, a second fight occurred that resulted in one man being arrested.”

George E. Tautuaa. Photo; Salt Lake County

George Tautuaa, 40, was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for assault. Pepper spray was used to help officers break up the fight, the police statement said.

A juvenile from the first incident also was taken into custody and booked for inciting a riot and assault. Two juveniles from the second incident were taken into custody, then released, but will be referred for charges, the WVCPD statement said.

“WestFest is a fun, community tradition that is enjoyed by many families and individuals in our city,” the statement said. “We are disappointed that an episode of violence marred last night’s festivities, however, the safety of the visitors to this festival is a top priority for our police department.

“As such, we have one dozen extra duty police officers assigned specifically to ensure safety and security at this event. These officers are also augmented by law enforcement personnel from other Salt Lake County law enforcement entities who will be in attendance and working to support our safety and security efforts.

“WestFest will be closely monitored to ensure that it remains an event that is safe for all to enjoy.”

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