18-year-old arrested in St. George after shots fired outside Latter-day Saints church building

Dillynn Louis Pruett. Photo Courtesy: Washington County Jail

ST. GEORGE, Utah, Aug. 11, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — An 18-year-old man was arrested Sunday after shots were fired outside a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints building in St. George late last month.

A probable cause statement from the 5th District Court of St. George said Dillynn Louis Pruett, 18, is facing charges of three counts of aggravated assault, a third-degree felony; purchase, transfer or possession of a firearm by a restricted person, a third-degree felony; and discharge of a firearm within city limits, a class B misdemeanor.

The arrest comes after five individuals reported being shot at in the parking lot of the LDS church at 1762 S. River Road on July 23 at approximately 10:25 p.m.

Earlier that day, one of those individuals had received an add on Snapchat, the statement said. She suspected the account was created by her ex-boyfriend, because the account showed up attached to his phone number in her phone. The person on Snapchat gave a different name than her ex-boyfriend and said he created the account to sell drugs. He asked if she wanted any.

She played along because she still thought it was her ex-boyfriend “messing with her,” the statement said. They agreed to meet at the LDS church parking lot. The female and her boyfriend decided to have three other friends go with them to confront whom they thought was her ex-boyfriend, and they went in two vehicles.

“When they pulled into the parking lot, the suspect vehicle was backed into a spot in the rear of the parking lot,” the statement said. “As all of them pulled in, the suspect vehicle began to leave and while it passed them, the passenger in the front seat fired at least four shots at them before exiting onto River Road heading south.”

One of the cars was hit with a round that cracked the windshield, and the boyfriend and girlfriend, who were in the other vehicle, said they were directly fired at, the statement said.

The ex-boyfriend was later interviewed and he said he changed his number about four months previous and denied any involvement with the shooting.

Surveillance was obtained from Mr. D’s gas station where the suspected suspect vehicle was seen traveling south on River Road taking a right onto Fort Pierce Drive.

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A caller gave police the name of Dillynn Pruett as being the alleged shooter in the incident. That caller said Pruett had just told him about the shooting, but later admitted he was in the vehicle with Pruett and one other person when the shooting occurred. The suspect had also recently been staying with the caller, the statement said.

The person said they were in the parking lot so Pruett “could sell something,” the statement said. “He said all of a sudden, four vehicles came in the parking lot really fast.” The person said Pruett shot at least four times at the vehicles as they attempted to drive away, and that he used a .22 revolver that he had purchased recently. The fact that a revolver was used would explain why no shell casings were found at the scene, the statement said.

On Saturday, Aug. 10, the person found the gun hidden in his home and turned it in to the police.

Later in the evening, Pruett was located at the Washington County Fair and was detained. Pruett was read his Miranda rights and said he was willing to answer questions.

Pruett admitted to shooting four times at two vehicles, and said he purchased the gun for protection. He said he obtained some drugs in Mesquite and was going to sell the drugs to help pay the person who spoke to police back for staying at his place. The third person in the suspect vehicle was the one who set up the Snapchat, who had taken over the phone number from the female’s ex-boyfriend.

“At first, Pruett stated he was in fear for his life because the other vehicles tried to block them in and that was why he shot,” the statement said. “He then admitted the shots were not justified and he was not in imminent danger. He said he was not aiming to shoot any person and he only aimed low and into the grills. He said he was high on marijuana at the time that he consumed about four hours earlier.”

The incident occurred when Pruett was out on probation or parole, officials said.

Pruett is being held at Washington County Jail with his bail set at $50,000.

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